Former Arsenal star Stewart Robson has backed his former club’s stunning decision to allow key midfielder Aaron Ramsey to depart the Emirates for free next summer, citing one key flaw in the 27-year-old’s game.
The news that the Welshman would not be offered a contract to extension in north London beyond this season came as a shock to many. Ramsey’s contract expires at the end of the current campaign, meaning his Gunners career will come to an end after more than a decade.
The prospect of losing such an influential player has been widely criticised as a mistake by the Gunners, but Robson has backed his ex-side’s big decision. Robson told Love Sport Radio: “Ramsey seems to run forward much quicker than when he’s having to run back.
“He seems to be good at sprinting into the opposition’s box and you think ‘that was great pace!’ but when he’s got to run back the other way, he rolls his head and looks as though he can’t run.
“I don’t believe this thing that you’re an attacking midfield player or you’re a defensive midfield player. You have to do both sides of the game. That’s why I would think, for the money that they’re talking about, it’s best to let him go now.”
Ramsey was generally utilised in a two-man central midfield alongside Granit Xhaka under Arsene Wenger in previous seasons, but has been shifted into a more advanced role this term.
His defensive shortcomings, as referred to by Robson, seem to have played a part in Unai Emery’s thinking, as the Spanish head coach shifted Ramsey into the ‘number ten’ role from the outset of the season.
However, Ramsey has seemed to struggle equally in a more advanced position. The attacking starting point not has not enabled the Welshman to make the kind of runs from deeper which had become his strongest asset.
With the Welshman seemingly struggling to find his feet in Emery’s setup, Ramsey has fallen down the pecking order in Arsenal’s midfield ranks in recent weeks.
Ramsey has been ousted from Emery’s Premier League side, generally coming on as a substitute in domestic fixtures, and only starting in a rotated side for Europa League outings of late.
The Welshman has most recently been linked with a free transfer to join Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich following the expiry of his Arsenal contract next summer.