Aaron Ramsey is in the last year of his contract and is strongly linked to a move to Juventus. Arsenal should sell him for whatever he's worth, no matter how little.
Here we are again. Like a clockwork, Arsenal has again toppled the contract of one of its star players in its final year. I remember when this palaver happened to Robin van Persie in the summer of 2012 – he would eventually sign a rebate for Manchester United and win Sir Alex Ferguson his last retirement title.
At the time, Paul Merson, a Highbury star in the 1990s, said that his contract could never last up to two years. The club just did not allow it. Look how times have changed.
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This time it's up to Aaron Ramsey to hold the club over a barrel. And that's no disadvantage for Ramsey. He just does the best for his career and asks for a reward that he rightly believes he deserves. Arsenal just can not afford Ramsey. They have told him that he can leave the club this year, probably at the end of the season at the end of his contract.
However, with the transfer window soaring in January, the Gunners face the final opportunity to sell the Welsh for any appearance of value. You obviously will not reap the full rewards of a player from Ramsey's quality. But they can at least scratch back some money, which is obviously better than the nothing they will receive in the summer.
There have been growing suggestions that a deal could take place in January, even though Arsenal has stated that Ramsey is likely to leave at the end of the season. Unai Emery wants him to continue to play a key role in qualifying for the Champions League.
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But here is the problem. The likelihood that Ramsey is the difference between a top 4 finish is extremely low. At half-time this season Arsenal is currently just under the top four. You have 38 points. That's a tempo for 76 points. In the last ten years of the Premier League, this score would qualify eight times for the Champions League, once with the fourth-placed team draw and only once in the top four place.
And Ramsey was not an integral part of relative league success this season. He has made only seven starts and has been largely disappointing in most of them, especially at the beginning of the year. In only 684 minutes he was there in total. 15 players have played more league minutes than Ramsey this season.
The sale of Ramsey is therefore not as expensive as it may seem. Yes, he is a great player. Yes, I want Arsenal to keep it. But the money a sale brings, even if it's only £ 20 million, can be much more productive if invested in a different position. Selling Ramsey for whatever it's worth, no matter what number, is the right decision. Whether this will be possible, however, is a completely different question.