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Aaron Ramsey is a player blessed with exceptional talent, but he losing in the race to fulfil his potential. Through no fault of his own, however. His move to the Emirates from Cardiff City for £5m appeared to be the perfect fit, and for a time it was – yet, his career at Arsenal has recently stagnated and he needs a move away to blossom into the world-class player he can become.
Hearts are beating. Chests are pumping. Mouths are panting. It’s extra time in the 2014 F.A. Cup final between Arsenal and Hull; Wenger’s men have come from 2-0 to level it to 2-2 and are pushing for a later winner. Step in, Aaron Ramsey. Ramsey’s 109th minute goal spelt the end of nine-year trophy drought and capped the season of his career. Ever since, however, he has failed to reach that standard of consistent quality.
The fault lies not on his shoulders, but on Arsene Wenger’s. Wenger, for all his achievements, has failed in the case of Ramsey; he decided to sacrifice Ramsey’s energy and creativity in the centre and push him out wide. Put simply, Ramsey cannot play out wide – he lacks the pace and knowledge of that position. The midfielder’s career has significantly stalled since, watching the brilliance of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez take his place in the headlines.
Ramsey’s underperformance in the wide-right position has led to unrelenting criticism from the Arsenal faithful who lament his eagerness to drift inside and occupy his natural role, rather than stick to the wing. Ramsey often comes under fire for holding onto the ball for too long and failing to produce the final touch of magic that was intrinsic just two years ago. The Welshman’s popularity at the Emirates is not high, despite his work ethic and despite his filling a role alien to his skills and attributes.
Couple this move out to the flank with his persistent injuries and one finds themselves at an explanation as to why he has failed to maintain standards. The Arsenal medical team invariably find themselves at the centre of a storm when players continue to pick up injuries, with the Gunners picking up a total of 26 injuries already this season. Ramsey’s no exception – a consistent run of games appear to result in an injury. There is a flaw in the medical set up at Arsenal that requires addressing; Wenger did them no favours in September when commenting on the fact he knew Ramsey had a hamstring niggle at half-time against Liverpool but ignored it, with Ramsey having to come off with a hamstring problem, side-lining him for a considerable time.
Ramsey starred for Wales at last year’s Euro championships, being a key component of a team that reached the Semi-finals, creating history and inflaming an unprecedented sense of pride in Wales towards their football team. He played in the number 10 role and outshone his Arsenal team-mate Mesut Ozil, making the team of the tournament. Four assists and one goal will testify to his immense impact during the championships. Play Aaron Ramsey through the midfield and he will produce.
He is 26 years old and should be hitting the prime of his career. Ramsey needs a move away from Arsenal to deliver on the promise he showed in 2013/14 season and reach the levels of world-class performance he is very much capable of.