Arsenal's Unai Emery urges Aaron Ramsey to prove quality amid contract stand-off

LONDON — Unai Emery is confident that Aaron Ramsey won’t let his contract situation affect his performances and called on the midfielder to show his quality amid a stand-off between the club and player over new terms.

Ramsey’s future has been thrown into doubt after contract talks with the club collapsed, and the midfielder could now leave on a free transfer at the end of the season.

Emery indicated that he has no plans of dropping the Wales international, though, and said he isn’t worried that his performances could suffer.

“I don’t think so,” Emery said ahead of Saturday’s home game against Watford. “I am sure the best for us and the best for him is to take this opportunity to do the best performance each match, to show every supporter his best quality.

“Tomorrow I want, and we want, his best performance.”

Ramsey is Arsenal’s longest-serving player and Emery talked openly during preseason about the importance of signing him to a new long-term deal, saying he viewed the midfielder as a key part of his team.

The Arsenal boss repeatedly avoided questions on Friday about whether he has reiterated to the club hierarchy that he wants Ramsey to stay, but indicated that his stance hasn’t changed since the summer.

“I spoke about this question, this situation, in the preseason and now it is the same,” he said.

Ramsey is the latest Arsenal star to enter the final year of his contract without a new deal, following drawn-out sagas involving Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez last year. Ozil finally penned a new club-record deal in January, while Sanchez ended up joining Manchester United after refusing to sign an extension.

There’s now a chance Ramsey could refuse a January move in order to secure a higher salary as a free agent next summer, meaning Arsenal would lose one of their most valuable assets for free. But Emery insisted such situations are not unique to Arsenal.

“In my football years I knew, and I am going to know, the same situation,” he said. “Because the football career for the players is very short. They are professionals for 10,12 or 15 years, but not more, and they need to take the best performance and also work very hard in these years for his future and his family’s future.”

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