Aaron Ramsey is an exceptionally gifted footballer.
His ability on the ball is matched only by the amount of work and graft he puts in game after game for 90 minutes, so no wonder he is currently one of the most sought after midfielders in the game.
For years, many predicted great things for the Welshman – the academy player rising up through the ranks to lead the club to serious silverware challenges both domestically and on the European stage with a side that is constantly improving year on year.
Ramsey was the man to take Arsenal to the next level. That is, until a certain Mesut Ozil arrived at the club on deadline day in the summer transfer window of 2013 for £42m.
Without knowing it, the German appears to become the player that everyone thought Ramsey would eventually become since his arrival in north London – an assist king who, just this season, has begun to score from midfield like the Premier League greats of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard used to do week in, week out.
And now, Ozil appears to have cemented his position as Arsenal’s first choice number 10 – the position that Ramsey is dying to play in, and is wasted when played anywhere else on the pitch.
If Mesut Ozil remains at Arsenal for the foreseeable future, Ramsey needs to move away to fulfil the potential that many predicted him to reach at this point in his career.
In the club’s crucial Champions League tie against Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday evening, Ramsey played alongside Francis Coquelin in a holding pair in front of the back four and, quite honestly, looked lost.
The fans were getting on his back with every square or backward pass he made. He was unsure when to go forward and when to stay back, leading to a staggered and unnatural looking attack from the Gunners, and he failed to have an impact on a game that is crying out for a typical and in-form ‘Ramsey-type’ performance.
His one shot on goal, late in the second half when Arsenal were becoming desperate to find a winner, was a glimpse of what he can produce. Sat on the edge of the area, and the ball spilled out for Aaron to knock down nicely, and drive a low, spinning shot to the keepers right, and perhaps should have hit the target.
Nevertheless, that’s the position Ramsey thrives in. We see it with Wales. Just in behind Gareth Bale, the 25-year-old is allowed to float in, across and occasionally behind the Real Madrid star to link up beautifully. ‘Rambo’, as he is known, has a footballer’s brain, and knows when to play the 1-2’s, and when to make that burst down the middle that can be so effective.
Alexis Sanchez could be Ramsey’s version of Bale. The pair’s ability with their feet, plus their awareness when to spread it wide and when to take advantage of a high defensive line, would make for wonderful viewing, and Ramsey would knock in a fair few more goals than he does currently.
Now, in no sense should the solution for manager Arsene Wenger be to sell Mesut Ozil, or move him out wide. The man is the closest thing the club have come to a second coming of Dennis Bergkamp, and is one of, if not the most talented player in the league, especially when he is playing that false nine role and linking up with the front man. He IS world class.
So where does that leave Ramsey? As much as Arsenal fans would hate to admit it, he simply doesn’t fit into this squad in a way where he can be effective for the side, in a similar way to how Jack Wilshere will find when, or if, he returns from his loan at Bournemouth.
Real Madrid have reportedly announced their interest, and if he gets the chance to replicate his positioning with Bale like in the Welsh national side, Los Blancos will be getting one heck of a creative midfielder.
Ramsey needs to leave Arsenal if he wants to be the world class player that so many have predicted he could become.