Arsenal boss Emery was right to withdraw Aaron Ramsey’s contract, until the midfield dynamo proved him utterly wrong


IT made sense at the time.

Ample sense.

Arsenal ace Aaron Ramsey will link up with Serie A giants Juventus in the summer on a free transfer
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After all, when Arsenal felt they had to choose between Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil, even plenty of Gunners fans felt Unai Emery and the Emirates board had made the right decision.

But with every passing week, every passing match, the Ramsey call looks increasingly the wrong one.

If anyone at Arsenal is irreplaceable, it is the man who is walking away for nothing at the end of next month.

And while the Welshman is desperate to sign off with a Europa League winners’ medal around his neck in Baku, before joining Juventus and a guaranteed tilt at the Champions League next term, there may be a few inside the club who are now wondering if they might have made a major mistake.

To be fair to Emery and the hierarchy, it did not seem such a terrible decision at the start of the campaign.

Plenty of Arsenal fans felt that Ramsey, for all he had brought to the table since his arrival from Cardiff 11 years ago, wanted too much.

Yes, he had been instrumental in those FA Cup wins under Arsene Wenger, scoring the Wembley winners against both Hull in 2014 and Chelsea three years later, while playing the full 90 minutes in the 2015 romp over Aston Villa.

With every passing week, every passing match, the Ramsey call looks increasingly the wrong one.

Martin Lipton

But as he approached his 29th year, he did not seem a player for the future.

Whether it was a case of Ramsey attempting to hold the club to ransom or just agent-led brinkmanship, Arsenal were not prepared to budge.

The £350,000 going to Ozil each week meant cost-cutting elsewhere was required.

Ramsey was deemed expendable, with the club willing to let him run down the final year of his contract and leave on a free.

What is impressive is how the Welshman has responded, even though injury might have imperilled his hopes of a big fat cheque elsewhere.

And even after completing the terms of his move to Turin, Ramsey has remained integral to Emery’s side when they play the football they want to play.

It was fitting that it was Ramsey who scored the crucial opener against Napoli on Thursday night, initially blocking a forward pass, linking the attack and getting on the end of the chance to fire home, the sixth goal this season and 64th of his Arsenal career.

Ramsey, 28, netted the opener in the 2-0 win against Napoli in the Europa League on Thursday night
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Ramsey led by example, hunting down the Napoli side, forcing errors, making himself a right and proper nuisance.

That attitude and approach is what so tempted Juve to land him, too. He will thrive in Serie A, with his natural physicality and endeavour a boon for Massimiliano Allegri and his side.

But what of Arsenal, post-Ramsey?

Who have they got who can do what the Welshman does?

Not Ozil, certainly. The German was not terrible against Napoli, far from it. But his game is not about hustle and bustle. Never has been. Never will be.

Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira may chip in with the odd goal but will never be as prolific or imaginative as Ramsey.

And it means that, having let Ramsey go in exchange for nothing except good wishes for the future, Emery may have to spend £50m-plus to find someone who can replicate what he brings to the table.

Sometimes, what appears a good deal, a sensible decision, can be seen as, in truth, a false economy.

Arsenal may not realise how important Ramsey was for them until he is no longer there.

But the Welshman is desperate to say goodbye as a winner again. Which tells you everything you need to know.

Welsh international Ramsey has chipped in with six goals and eight assists in 38 games this season
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