There has been gossip recently that Juventus could be about to sell Aaron Ramsey and that Tottenham are the main suitors chasing his signature, but could the former Arsenal man really turn up in N17?
Ever since Aaron Ramsey left Arsenal in 2019 on a free transfer for Juventus he has been linked with a move away from the Italians.
As early as October 2019 there were articles in the Italian media questioning Juventus’s decision to buy Ramsey and they hasn’t died down since.
Now, as we approach summer, there is growing talk that Tottenham and Jose Mourinho would quite like to get their hands on him. That story was around last summer and nothing came of it, but it seems to be back.
Aaron Ramsey at Juventus
Aaron Ramsey’s first season in Turin was marked by injury, as you might expect. His Arsenal career had come to an end while he was sidelined with a hamstring problem but while he missed 10 games in his final season at Arsenal he only missed nine in his first season with Juve. That he was unfit when he turned up probably didn’t do his cause any good.
Three further muscular problems in 20/21 have seen him miss another six. At Arsenal, he rarely missed only a game or two when he picked up a problem.
At the time of writing, Aaron Ramsey has made 55 appearances for Juventus, scoring six and assisting four with an average game time of 45 minutes. Extrapolate that out and Ramsey has played just 22-and-a-half full matches since he left Arsenal.
He has another two years remaining on his contract and is currently valued at £18m.
Aaron Ramsey on Tottenham
Aaron Ramsey doesn’t really say much of note and unless it’s about rhinos it often seems hard to get him animated about anything.
He was asked before, however, if he would sign for Tottenham as he approached the end of his contract and his answer was definitive.
‘No,’ was his reply in October, 2018, eight months before he left Arsenal and at the end of an article about his future and possibly moving abroad.
Of course, things change, but Ramsey seems like the type of player you can trust to stick to his word. He wouldn’t go on loan to Swansea as a Cardiff boy so it seems highly unlikely he would head to Spurs as a former Arsenal star.
Why did Aaron Ramsey leave Arsenal for Juventus?
At the end of 2019, Arsène Wenger said Aaron Ramsey was keen to stay at Arsenal and had an agreement to do so, but the club went back on it.
Ramsey left for Juventus in the summer of 2019 after running down his contract with Arsenal.
There was a lot of speculation about exactly why he’d done so though, with some suggestion that Arsenal had simply decided against extending his contract.
Now, he’s apparently up for sale and there is a lot of talk about whether or not Arsenal should re-sign him, spreading a lot of misinformation along with the gossip.
Speaking to beIN SPORTS in his duties as a pundit at the end of last year, Arsène Wenger explained his view on Ramsey’s departure.
“I met (with) him once, he wanted to stay at Arsenal,” Wenger said. “They had an agreement and the club came back on that, from what I understood. I tried a long time to extend his contract, but sometimes there are influences of agents as well.
“Every case is different. You have to understand in decision-making it’s always who is influential…What I know from him, he was keen to stay.”
It’s worth noting that Wenger mentioned Ramsey’s agent. He apparently profited to the tune of €9m for getting the Welshman to Juventus for free given and was also a key talking point throughout the process. It’s possible the agency made some kind of demand that convinced Arsenal to pull out, though that’s just speculation.
Obviously, Wenger was only with Arsenal for the early part of the decision-making process. The Frenchman left the club a year before Ramsey did, and it seems the call was made later that year, so it is possible there’s more to it than the former Gunners boss knows.
All the same, you’d imagine Wenger would have spoken to Ramsey about the move at some stage, and he clearly spoke to him a lot before leaving, so there aren’t many more reliable sources of information on what happened.
Watch: All of Aaron Ramsey’s 64 goals for Arsenal
Let’s take a look back at all the goals across Aaron Ramsey’s 11-year Arsenal career.
Aaron Ramsey joined the club in 2008 as a 17-year-old, and he scored 64 goals from midfield over the following 11 years for Arsenal.
That included a couple of cup-final winners, goals against Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and especially Tottenham Hotspur, as well as some stunning efforts in European competition.
You can watch every goal he scored for Arsenal in just 140 seconds in the video below:
Aaron Ramsey: There was a lot of confusion over Arsenal contract
Aaron Ramsey says there was a lot of ‘confusion’ around his Arsenal contract demonstrating that he was as baffled about what happened as the rest of us.
Arsenal slapped down a contract in front of Aaron Ramsey to get him to renew. His agent dicked about for a while and then the club, to the surprise of everyone, whipped the deal away and said he could leave for free.
He’s now establishing himself at Juventus after recovering from the hamstring injury that ended his Arsenal career early and, ahead of this weekend’s match against Alexis Sanchez’s Inter Milan, he spoke with the media who asked him about the contract situation at Arsenal.
As you can tell from his comments, he clearly wanted to stay at the club.
“There was a lot of confusion, there were so many things at stake,” he told the BBC. “The decision was taken and that’s it, so I had to evaluate other options.
“Arsenal was going through a period of transition at the time, now they have so many players of quality and talents that are blossoming.
“The direction they are taking is the right one but now I only think of Juventus. I had an incredible opportunity at a very important club. I just want to be a part of it now and to reach great goals in an important stage.”
Still only 28 and allowed to leave for free, this doesn’t feel like a decision that will seem better with time.
Why did Aaron Ramsey divide Arsenal fans so much?
This was first written in the summer of 2017. It’s striking how little needed changing almost two years later when his Arsenal time finally came to an end
It’s almost impossible to discuss Aaron Ramsey without it turning into a blazing argument. Why is that?
Divided we fall
At most football clubs, a player who was the central figure in a club’s most aggressive league title pursuit since 2007/08, ended a nine-year trophy drought with an extra time cup final winner, silenced the noisy neighbours with an impudent backheel in their own backyard, and then scored another winner in a cup final against another city rival you rarely beat, all in the space of four seasons, would be universally adored by the fanbase.
However, this is unequivocally not the case for Aaron Ramsey.
But why is a midfielder, with so many useful qualities, who has given Arsenal fans some of the happiest footballing memories of recent times, such a divisive figure?
Regardless of how old you are or what your interests are outside of football, you will have been party to some unnecessarily binary debates in your time. The Beatles or The Stones, cats or dogs, Biggie or 2pac, Blur or Oasis, Stone Cold or The Rock, Brand New or Taking Back Sunday, Taylor Swift or Carly Rae Jepsen.
Amongst a section of the Arsenal fanbase, one such debate was Aaron Ramsey or Jack Wilshere.
While these debates are naturally occurring between two broadly similar entities which exist in the same space, there is no need for them to be so binary. It’s perfectly fine to like both, to offer a nuanced answer expressing the virtues of one, but then concluding that the other is more your cup of tea.
But that rarely happens.
Instead, what you tend to get is an overcompensating polarised simplification.
Your favourite becomes idealised and put on a pedestal, viewed through rose-coloured glasses. You further expand the gulf between the two by burying the one you don’t like as much, to present a more compelling argument for your favourite being the best by a long way.
We’ve all done this at some point, to varying degrees of severity, at varying degrees of sincerity.
After years of back and forth, and the weight of evidence building in favour of one, the Ramsey or Wilshere debate should have been conclusively settled as one led Wales to the semi-final of Euro 2016 and fired Arsenal to another FA Cup triumph, whilst the other was shipped out on loan to Bournemouth, where he had an unremarkable season.
Yet the anti-Ramsey sentiment remained.
It’s clear that this wasn’t a case of playing favourites any more. This was no longer a Ramsey vs Wilshere debate. It was something bigger, something deeper. One can argue that the debate became Ramsey vs his detractors’ own outdated preconceptions of a player who quite frankly doesn’t exist.
When you deeply believe something and hold it to be true, you may grow increasingly stubborn, not wanting to back down and admit that you may have got it wrong, even in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary. We’ve all been there in some capacity in our lifetime, some more than others.
A lot of Arsenal fans were frustrated by Ramsey’s performances in the 2011/12 season, his first full one after coming back from having his leg broken at Stoke at the end of February 201. They’d forgotten the player he’d shown signs of becoming in his starring performances in the months before his career-threatening injury. They failed to show empathy or patience for a young man looking to rebuild his career following a massive physical and psychological trauma.
With every miscue on the pitch, the groans grew louder, the tweets grew more venomous.
Fast forward to 2018 and the vitriolic tweets and heckles from the crowd remained, even in the face of everything Ramsey has achieved on the pitch since early 2013 when Arsene Wenger restored him to the centre of midfield to form a formidable partnership alongside Mikel Arteta. While his development trajectory since then did not remained linear, there were no significant lows to temper the highest highs, even as he played in a team that wasn’t set up to get the best out of him.
Off the pitch, Ramsey has never spoken ill of the club, manager, or fans.
He never voiced a desire to leave. He’s a family man, who does extensive charity work with animals in his spare time. The only character trait anyone could take issue with is perhaps they may find him a bit beige.
It’s mind-boggling that he can inspire such animosity.
Maybe it’s because some fans perceived Ramsey to be wasteful with the ball, which is a legitimate criticism for which there is tangible evidence. But even in an average game, he takes risks, commits to runs and puts himself in a position where he can make something happen. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, as the old adage goes. He’s not a reckless player, his risks are calculated, and in the biggest moments they have come off.
In a match where something comes off, people are happy to overlook all the attempts that don’t. Take the 2014 FA Cup final against Hull, for example. Nobody would care to remember Ramsey’s shots that didn’t go in, they’ll just savour the winner. Speak to Liverpool fans about Steven Gerrard’s performance against West Ham in the 2006 final. They’ll eulogise his last minute equaliser. None of them will mention his countless attempts that didn’t nestle in the back of the net.
Closer to home, Alexis Sanchez was an even more high risk, high reward player who could be frustrating with the regularity of which he lost the ball, despite his goal return. Unlike Ramsey, his body language on the pitch and comments to the media left a lot to be desired. Yet Sanchez’s conduct and output were rarely called into question at all, let alone scrutinised to the extent of Ramsey’s. This suggests that Arsenal fans’ issue with Ramsey is something deeper than just his character or tangible output on the pitch.
All things considered, in February 2019, Ramsey’s biggest detractors are not voicing such vehement views as a rational response to tangible evidence. They are not voicing such views to diminish him in an unnecessarily binary debate against a player who won’t even be at the club next season.
They’re doing so as a preservation of ego.
During the 2016/17 season at the Emirates, had you looked away from the action for a second and heard a theatrical groan from another fan a couple of rows behind, you could almost always guess which player had been responsible for inspiring the performative outburst. Ramsey.
His biggest critics, both on social media and in the ground feel the need to validate their views as a form of confirmation bias, pontificating, forever competing for that one moment of self-aggrandising glory, where they hog the intellectual spotlight and hold dominion.
Some people have an innate desire to want to appear to be the most right. Even when they’re not. They’re too proud to admit they may have misjudged a player, or that circumstances have changed and the player has improved, so they double down on an outdated view that wasn’t fully correct in the first place.
This may not be the most accurate answer as to why Aaron Ramsey remains such a divisive figure amongst a fanbase he has given so much for and provided so much happiness to, but it’s the only one that makes sense when you consider the surreal depth of the vitriol hurled his way.