News that United have been linked with Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey, whose contract runs out in the summer will remind many fans of a time when the midfielder looked destined to be heading to Old Trafford.
During the summer of 2008 Sir Alex Ferguson must’ve felt pretty confident of acquiring the services of any young British player he set his sights on, especially those plying their trade outside the top flight. United had just lifted both the Premier League and Champions League – retaining the former from the previous season With the likes of Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tevez and Cristiano Ronaldo leading his attack, Sir Alex must have believed any midfielder in the country would surely relish the chance of playing alongside such a potent triumvirate. He was wrong.
Aaron Ramsey was one of most talked about youngsters in the country, a 17 year old who’d already experienced the rigours of the Championship and emerged unscathed. The teenager was coveted by Everton, Arsenal and United with the English and European Champions favourites to sign him. But they didn’t.
Arsenal signed the teenager, in no small part thanks to former Gunner Terry Burton who was now Ramsey’s coach at Cardiff, not to mention a personal appeal from Arsene Wenger, leaving Ferguson pondering what might have been as the gifted youngster slipped through the net.
Ramsey was eased into life at the Emirates, making just nine Premier League appearances in his first season and twice that amount in his second before disaster struck in the shape of a double leg fracture following a tackle by Stoke’s former United defender Ryan Shawcross.
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Ramsey recovered after a nine month period of rehab eventually ending up back at Cardiff after leaving them as as yet again Wenger handled him with care, a move that was credited with enabling the midfielder to get back to the required match fitness before returning to the Premier League.
Since that return in 2010-11, Ramsey has enjoyed something of an inconsistent Arsenal career, one that’s reached the heights of 16 Premier League goals in a campaign and the lows of missing important parts of his side’s season as their title challenges have unraveled.
During that period there’s been silverware in the form of three FA Cup wins, including the winner in the 2017 final, not to mention international success with Wales’s impressive European Championship campaign in 2016.
Having amassed over 300 games and 50 goals for the Gunners in over a decade, the 27 year old Ramsey should be one of the first names on the team sheet and a vital part of Unai Emery’s plans, but for whatever reason he’s not signed a new deal at the club and could leave for a free in the summer. Cue United.
Ramsey has been linked with a move to United, more than a decade after many people thought it was destined to happen and there’s several reasons to believe this time the move could more than just paper talk.
It’s hard to say whether Ramsey would walk straight into United’s side, with the signing of Fred giving the Reds a midfield three of Paul Pogba, Fred and Nemanja Matic which seems quite balanced, but there are enough variables to make him a possible signing for Mourinho.
For starters, there’s the Paul Pogba saga, now I’m not for a minute saying Ramsey is the same class as Pogba – he simply isn’t, but if the French international does leave, having another midfield option wouldn’t hurt.
Secondly the jury is still out on Fred, who while obviously talented and a threat still hasn’t had the chance to prove himself yet and should he fail to reach the expected level in the Premier League, having Ramsey as an alternative option could maintain the midfield balance United need.
Thirdly, Ramsey could be available in January if Arsenal decide they want to get something for him and while United don’t have a Henrikh Mkhitaryan to offload, a relatively low sum – at least by today’s standards – could be enough to make the move happen. Alexis Sanchez’s failure so far at Old Trafford may put many Reds off signing another Gooner mid-season but if we thought all big money signings from Nottingham Forest were gonna be awful after Garry Birtles, Peter Davenport and Neil Webb, we’d never have signed Keano.
Finally and perhaps more importantly in the Glazernomics, Ed knows best era we find ourselves in then getting a 27 year-old midfielder who’s played over 300 games for our rivals could be a better option than not buying anyone, which is a feasible worry when you’ve left the lunatics in charge of the asylum.
Ramsey may not be the exciting youngster that Sir Alex Ferguson once admired anymore but he is a talented creative midfielder, with an eye for goal that could make a lot of sense for a United side in desperate need of something new.
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