What next for Aaron Ramsey?
Arsenal look set to welcome the addition of French international midfielder Yann M’Vila after Euro 2012, with the move having already been announced on the French stock market by the player’s club Rennes, that he’s moving for a certain fee somewhere in the very near future. This begs the question, though, where exactly does this leave Aaron Ramsey in the future?
Arsene Wenger has set his side up over the past year or so in a fluid 4-3-3 system with a central midfield trio. Ramsey is still just 21 years of age and made 34 league appearances last term and 44 across all competitions. He profited the most from Jack Wilshere’s season out with injury. But with Wilshere set to return in the summer, if the Arsenal medical department don’t happen to misdiagnose him again that is, Ramsey’s opportunities look like they’re increasingly going to become limited next season.
Alex Song played the midfield holding role for the majority of last season for the side. For anyone that’s watched Song over the last two years will know, he’s really not very good at all in this role. He lacks positional discipline and has an obvious and clear preference to get involved with play further forward.
However, Song is an exceptionally talented creative midfielder, you wouldn’t know it by taking a casual glance at his physique, but the Cameroonian has an eye for a pass and he finished the season with 11 assists in the league last season. The signing of M’Vila is a clear indication that Wenger plans to utilise Song further forward in the coming campaign and needs a recognised holding midfielder to sit behind him.
When you factor in the fact that Tomas Rosicky signed a new two-year deal back in March after a superb second half of the season, putting in some superb displays against the likes of Tottenham in the North London derby and against AC Milan in the Champions League, and his rejuvenation looks complete from deadwood to integral first-team member in a matter of months.
Mikel Arteta was the club’s best signing of the season last summer. He dictates the tempo from deep, he makes the side tick and most importantly, you notice his absence when he’s not in the team as the side have far less control over the ball as he made the step up from Everton after his £10m deadline-day move with consummate ease.
Robin van Persie’s future at the club also directly effects Aaron Ramsey’s. Should the Dutch striker stay and reject the overtures of Manchester City and Juventus, Arsenal have three attacking places up for grabs with Van Persie, Podolski, Giroud (likely to sign on soon), Gervinho, Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain to choose from with Chamakh, Park Chu-Young and Bendtner all likely to be moved on. If Van Persie stays, we may see more of Oxlade-Chamberlain in a central midfield role like we did during Arsenal 3-0 home win over AC Milan, further restricting Ramsey’s first-team chances even more.
Ramsey didn’t have a great season last year in terms of his form and the overall standard of his play, but that’s to be expected when you miss over a year out like he did through injury at his age. The only way he’s going to get back to his best is by playing him consistently week-in, week-out and while Arsenal are obviously strengthening their squad with not only numbers at the moment but great quality, it could head off Ramsey’s development at a crucial time when he needs game more now than ever before.
It looks as if it’s going to be a summer of great upheaval at the Emirates, with Wenger finally dipping into the club’s deep coffers, and all of the moves so far point to a reduced role for Ramsey next term. He’s likely to be a useful squad player and will still likely see 30 games a season, but is that really enough for someone with his ability and potential? It remains to be seen.
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