Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs
The Telegraph today reported that Chelsea are set to make a £30 million bid for Aaron Ramsey. The Welshman has just one year remaining on his current deal and has been unable to come to an agreement on an extension at the Emirates stadium so far this summer.
While on Arsenal’s pre-season tour to Singapore last week, Ramsey gave an update on his future to Sky Sports News which seemed to imply that he’d left the situation to the club and his agent.
“We’ll see what happens, but my agent and the club are talking,” he said. “I’m not sure exactly [at what point the discussions are at]. I’m just leaving that to them to discuss and to figure out. But, we have to come to an agreement, so that’s something that my agent and the club are discussing to try and get something done.”
Playing the deal right
From these quotes, it seems like the Arsenal midfielder is in no rush to put pen to paper, which is a significant issue for his club as they go into their final preparations for the season.
Were he to stay at the club this summer, he would be free to go on a Bosman transfer next summer. It’s easy to see the incentive for the player. With no transfer fee to pay for the player, the number of different suitors for Ramsey would surely increase, as would potential signing bonuses and wages.
Given this, it’s not hard to see how Ramsey could look to benefit from such a situation after his teammate Mesut Özil managed to more than double his wages from his contract extension last February when he only had five months remaining on his deal.
REUTERS/Edgar SuFrom Arsenal’s perspective, however, they will be desperate to avoid having another key player enter the final year of his contract. If they’re unable to secure a new deal for him in the next week and a half, it makes sense that they would listen to offers.
Whether a £30 million bid would be enough to entice them to sell to a rival, however, is another matter. Even with just one year left on his deal, Arsenal would likely feel entitled to a more significant sum of money for the 27-year-old.
The reported £35 million the Gunners got for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain last August would probably be considered a minimum for Ramsey, who, while three and a half years older than Chamberlain was when he left, is a more established and pivotal player for the North London club.
Time is also an issue. If Ramsey were to leave Arsenal would want another central midfielder who can contribute in the attacking phase, as they already have multiple more defensive minded midfielders. With just a week and a half of the window remaining, it’s hard to see them having enough time to bring someone in.
If Ramsey were to make the move to Stamford Bridge, how would he fit in?
In a theoretical midfield three with new signing Jorginho and 2016/17 PFA Player of the Year N’Golo Kante, Chelsea would offer a wide range of profiles and would appear to give Ramsey a role where his strengths would flourish. With Jorginho offering ball progression and Kante defensive solidity and all-around quality, the Gunners man would have the freedom to make his trademark forward runs.
Ramsey contributed 0.75 goals and assists per 90 minutes in league and European play last season, making him one of the most prolific central midfielders in world football. His engine and ability to make smart runs allow him to get into dangerous positions more frequently than almost any other deeper lying midfielders.
REUTERS/Damir SagoljBut his attacking instincts have sometimes been brought in to question, with his critics claiming it comes at the compromise of some of his other midfield duties. To get the most out of Ramsey's abilities, Arsenal have often had to sacrifice security in midfield, where not particularly mobile defensive midfielders, like Granit Xhaka, have been overrun.
In this case, there’s arguably no better safety net than Kante, probably the best ball winner of his generation who has the legs and the defensive intelligence to cover the spaces that are left behind by more forward-thinking players.
If Ramsey were to arrive at Chelsea it would probably see the end of at least one of Danny Drinkwater and Tiemoue Bakayoko. Both struggled after joining the Blues last summer and, as similar box-to-box options, they’d have less to offer the team with Ramsey already there.
Too little, too late?
It’s easy to see why Chelsea would be interested in the midfielder.
Whether they’ll be prepared to do enough to convince Arsenal to sell is more doubtful. With the transfer window closing next Thursday, time is short for the deal to go through.
Given how little smoke there had been about Chelsea being in for Ramsey before the last few days, it seems improbable that this is a transfer the club and player have really been pushing for which shows the player is seemingly content to stay with the Gunners at least for another year.
The most likely scenario would see Ramsey stay at Arsenal this summer and enter the final year of his contract, where he would then have increased power to negotiate for a bumper new deal.
Like with Özil last season, it would be surprising if Arsenal were to let him walk away from the club in that situation which would mean the Welshman getting what he wants.