Following Aaron Ramsey’s hat trick on Saturday, fresh calls have been made for Arsenal to tie him down to a new contract. Arsenal are said to have opened talks with him but the fans are worried as he gets closer to the end of his current deal with the club. The Welsh midfielder is out of contract in less than 18 months, and he will not be short of suiters if he decides to move on. The situation is another example of Arsenal’s farcical contract handling over the last 15 years, and could result in very tough contract talks before a new deal is agreed.
This summer Ramsey will have completed 10 years at Arsenal, having already made 316 appearances for the club. During this time he has notched 53 goals and 50 assists. Break that down, and you’ve got a player how is involved in one goal in every three games – not bad for a box to box midfielder. This season, he has already scored six goals and claimed six assists, despite being injured for around eight weeks, during a very busy period for Arsenal.
This kind of record puts Aaron Ramsey up there with the very best. Few midfielders can match his output, and he is arguably the best box to box midfielder in the Premier League since Lampard and Gerrard. On top of this, Aaron Ramsey has a strong mentality, his recovery from a double leg break at a young age proved this, and this is something Arsenal must respect.
His two FA Cup final winners will ensure that he goes down in the history books, but if Arsenal are serious about competing, they must get over the infatuation with Wilshere and Cazorla, and tie down a player who has consistently delivered for the club. Despite his goals, and heroics, Ramsey is far from being a fan favourite, quite the opposite in fact, often dividing opinion on the terraces.
This appears to have angered him, as Jack Wilshere only needs to step onto the pitch to win the favour of the fans, and is seemingly immune to the criticisms that Ramsey faces week in week out. But, his mental strength ensures he looks past it and continues to deliver on the pitch, showing immense leadership every week.
Mesut Ozil’s huge pay rise will set the benchmark for Ramsey’s camp during negotiations, and so they should. Ramsey is currently on a £110,000 a week package and if Arsenal wants to retain him, they may have to double that amount. Ramsey has been one of Arsenal’s best players for the last five years, and he should be rewarded heavily. He should also be offered the club captaincy, not Wilshere. This would be a major sweetener for Ramsey, who has previously said he’d love to captain the club.
It would also show the faith the club have in him, and would allow Arsenal to build long term, rather than appoint another faceless captain who is scared to speak. Ramsey must also receive a salary that puts him close to Mesut Ozil, because his performances and stature at the club warrant that. If he does not receive this, he will leave, and Arsenal will have to outlay heavily to find the quality to replace him.