Unai Emery believes that Aaron Ramsey will sign a new contract to stay at the club and is in the running to be one of his ‘five captains’.
The new Arsenal head coach was speaking after his side drew 1-1 with Atletico Madrid before losing 3-1 in one of the worst penalty shootouts you are likely to see.
Speaking after the match, the Spaniard (not French as the Premier Sports commentator insisted), was asked about the Ramsey situation. “Football changes every day,” he said. “It’s not easy, but it does change. I was thinking about the match today, then preparation for the match Saturday.
“I think Aaron is an important player for us. The contract is one thing for the club and then one thing for the player. I want him to stay with us, to work with us, to give the team big performances with his quality. I think he’s going to stay here with us.”
Ramsey also spoke about the situation again, saying, “We’ll see what happens, but my agent and the club are talking.
“I’m not sure exactly what it hinges on, I’m just leaving it to them to discuss and to figure it out but we are yet to come to an agreement.”
Ramsey started Arsenal’s game against Diego Simeone’s men as captain and there are a number of calls from the fanbase to make him the club captain as part of any new deal.
Emery was asked if Ramsey would be his new captain. He said, “It’s not yet official, this decision, but I’ve said to you that I want five captains in the team. Then we will give the numbers for the first, second, third, fourth and fifth. Aaron has the potential to be captain.”
Ramsey made it clear that he wants assurances over his on-pitch position before he signs a new deal with Arsenal.
Speaking before the first match, the midfielder was asked about the status of his contract negotiations with Arsenal as he enters the last year of his deal.
Now Arsenal’s longest-serving player, Ramsey has been offered a five-year deal by the club as well as a substantial pay increase on the £110kpw he currently earns but nothing has been agreed yet due to ‘footballing reasons’ according to Ramsey.
At first glance, it’s easy to think this is just a coded way of saying ‘more money’ however the rest of Ramsey’s interview makes it clear this is about a guarantee that he will play in the middle of the pitch, not out wide.
“We are communicating,” Ramsey said. “My agent and the club are speaking but are yet to come to an agreement… for football reasons.
“This is a great club to be at and I’m excited to get going under this manager. We’re just yet to come to an agreement.
“It’s my decision,” he continued. “Whatever I decide to do, that’s on me. Do I feel under pressure? No. The only thing that makes it awkward is you keep asking the questions. It’s like having a baby in the car saying ‘Are we there yet, are we there yet?’
“I’m a player who always gives 100 per cent regardless of what’s going on. I will give everything to achieve something special this season. I’ve got a year left and I’m looking forward to being in an Arsenal shirt in the new season. We have to come to an agreement with what we want, so maybe something might happen.
“[my preferred position is] In the middle of the park!
“I’ve made it clear many, many times that I don’t like playing out wide.
“It hasn’t happened to me at club level before where a new manager has come in. You have to give everything in every session and every game.
“So if he likes what he sees, he likes what he sees. If he doesn’t, he doesn’t. It’s important for a new manager to make his ideas clear. He’s passionate, tactically we’ve been doing a lot of work. I’m excited. All the players are looking forward to this.”
Reports have it that Emery is an admirer of the Welshman which is not surprising. The Spaniard is believed to particularly like Ramsey’s ‘lung-busting runs’ as well as his vision, touch, and knack for scoring important goals.
There are calls from some sections of the Arsenal fan base to make Ramsey club captain ahead of the new season and you won’t get many arguments about that around these parts. First, though, they need to make him sign a new deal.
Emery’s decision to name five captains ahead of the season is an approach that is common in Spain, apparently.
“The captaincy is a massive responsibility and it would be an honour to captain this club,” Ramsey said, smiling.
“The manager is yet to decide so we’ll have to wait and see. But if the opportunity is there, I don’t think any player would say no. I’m no different.”