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Aaron Ramsey is already making plans for life after Arsenal, according to former Premier League forward Craig Bellamy.
Arsenal recently reportedly withdrew a four-year contract offer to Ramsey as he approaches the end of his contract in June, and Bellamy appeared on Sky Sports’ The Debate, predicting the playmaker will leave either next summer or in January:
“I think they’ve lost him already—I think he’s gone.
“Come January or the summer, he’ll be going somewhere else. Four or five years ago, every club wanted him—Manchester City, Barcelona. I think it’s time for him to move on. He’s become conscious of some players that have stayed too long at Arsenal and not got the best out of their ability. He’s a tremendous footballer that has had injuries.
“Unai Emery will be a good manager for him, but he needs a change. He’ll have a better chance of going to those top-end clubs if he’s on a free transfer.”
The debate over Ramsey’s future is rampant at present. A 27-year-old playmaker who, at his best, can run the Arsenal midfield like no-one else at the club.
But the £200,000-per-week terms said to have been pulled off the table last month, per the Evening Standard, is way outside the club’s usual wage permit.
This is after the club agreed a new £350,000-per-week contract with Mesut Ozil in January. It was either keep the German happy or see him leave in the same six-month period as Alexis Sanchez for very little reimbursement.
Some fans are likely to be maddened by the club’s decision to withdraw their offer, but Gunners legend Ian Wright rallied behind the choice when on BBC 5 Live Sport:
BBC 5 Live Sport @5liveSport
"#Arsenal have to make this stance with Ramsey"
@IanWright0 on the 'big statement' the board have made by not offering the Welshman the terms he wants… https://t.co/ZJjM3vXD03
Bellamy is correct to assume Ramsey is sure to draw interest in January if he is available, and perhaps Arsenal would be better off securing a fee then—albeit much lower than he would have attracted this past summer.
The pair were Wales team-mates for five years until 2013, one year before Bellamy retired from the sport, but not before winning 78 caps for his country and netting 19 times in the process.
It’s debatable as to whether Ramsey—who turns 28 in December—would attract the same interest Bellamy says he once did, however, not to mention the Gunners would likely be against selling to a direct rival.
Moreover, Arsenal wouldn’t be guaranteed to replace him with a playmaker of the same quality, and journalist Ian Stafford argued the club would be better off keeping their proven asset:
Ian Stafford @IanStaffs
Seen the Aaron Ramsey goal? Fantastic from start to finish. Not sure they should let him go. With two top strikers scoring and some much-needed steel in midfield things are looking up at Arsenal. #AFC #FULARS
It was almost bittersweet, therefore, as Arsenal manager Unai Emery sent Ramsey on for a 23-minute cameo in Saturday’s 5-1 dismantling of Fulham.
Ramsey collected a goal and an assist in that time, and Emery couldn’t help but laud his star, who was benched for just the second time in eight Premier League matches under the Spaniard, via BBC 5 Live Sport:
BBC 5 Live Sport @5liveSport
Should #Arsenal fight to keep Aaron Ramsey?
Unai Emery said he was a "very important player" for the club after today's 5-1 win.
This Gunners fan thinks "we're a better side when he plays" 👇
As of January Ramsey will be permitted to sign a pre-contract agreement with clubs outside the Premier League, though it seems more likely he’ll wait until the summer if he is to depart on a free.
Either way, Bellamy seems assured his countryman and former team-mate is destined for the Arsenal exit, and he won’t have any shortage of suitors interested in taking his talents.
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