Gooner Daily : The reasons Arsenal are willing to let Ramsey and Welbeck go

Bring on the (contracted) kids?

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Ramsey: Offer withdrawn by club

Arsenal leaving key player contracts to run down is unfortunately nothing new, however for the two players caught in the 2018/19 edition of Arsenal’s contract-brinkmanship-that-rarely-pays-off it feels a bit different than usual. Aaron Ramsey, whilst dividing opinion amongst supporters, is widely regarded as a key operator for the club - our longest serving player, pushing towards his peak at nearly 28 years old, in the team of the tournament at the Euros etc - it all sounds broadly familiar to the previous sagas of Van Persie and Alexis Sanchez. However, in this case we have seemingly pulled our offer away and by doing so have essentially have put him up sale in January, obviously a different tactic to the aforementioned who were players we desperately tried to keep, which meant one had to issue a public statement and the other act like a spoiled brat to manoeuvre themselves a transfer. Does our approach towards Ramsey highlight a change of tact now that Sanllehi is running things? Is it a matter of recognition that Emery’s early words about Ramsey being key were more aimed at oiling the negotiations than reality, or simply he just isn’t that important to the way we want to play?

For Danny Welbeck the situation is different again to previous Bosman-in-waiting episodes by virtue of the fact he has barely got any airtime at all. It’s odd considering he’s an England international, approaching his prime, is acknowledged as one of the best squad players around and seems happy with his lot. For there to be such little noise about it is just strange.

I wonder whether the reason for Arsenal’s apparent bullishness re: Ramsey and lack of intent to renew Welbeck’s contract is down to three things: Emile Smith-Rowe, Eddie Nketiah and Reiss Nelson. All have basically outgrown academy football, have recently signed new deals and need to be accommodated in the first team squad at some point soon.

Emery clearly doesn’t fancy Ramsey in a midfield two so in his mind he is basically a number 10 or sub. In the number 10 role he is vying with Ozil and Mkhitaryan - players who have recently signed contracts with the club and are of equivalent or higher ability. Could this be the reason why the club is reticent to commit £200K+ per week for a player with a questionable injury record and where alternatives are aplenty (even more so when you consider the potential ceiling of Smith-Rowe in that position)?

Given the dearth of natural wide players in the squad, Reiss Nelson feels like a perfect ‘internal solution’ for next season. He will be 19 on his return from Germany and you can imagine a year of first team football in a top league will whet his appetite to the point where he just has to be in the squad. I suspect the days when genuinely promising youngsters will settle for the odd league cup game are gone, see Jadon Sancho for one of the reasons why.

Regarding the Welbeck case, it could be argued that at 20 years old from the start of next season, Nketiah is the perfect number three striker who potentially has more goals in him than Welbeck. Plus in the embryonic stages of his career, sharing the pitch with Aubameyang and Lacazette will be a solid education for him. Perhaps he could be the first academy striker since Kevin Campbell (?!) to forge a path into the first team...

Let’s be honest, losing players for nothing or below their market value is not good business and is something we need to be better at. I wonder if in trying to rescue the situation we let Ramsey and Welbeck leave and remove £10-12m per year in wage cost, replace them with players already under contract and who are perhaps more malleable into Emery’s way of playing whilst leaving some capacity in the wage bill for new signings.

The one very slightly disappointing aspect of this so far encouraging season is the relative lack of minutes for our homegrown academy English players - perhaps our manoeuvring in these latest contract sagas is going some way to addressing it.

Ed’s note – Gooner Daily does not have to be written by yours truly! Thanks to GoonerRon for his contribution. Open house here for anyone else who wishes to pen something for the site – email pieces for publication to

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  1. mbg

    Oct 21, 2018, 19:55 #112444

    Good to get back into action again tomorrow night, bloody internationals remember the time when we wouldn't have cared less if our players came back injured and unavailable.

  2. 1971 Gooner

    Oct 21, 2018, 13:11 #112442

    Kevin Campbell was a top player for us I thought, in the context of where we were at that time. My mate who is a lifelong Orient fan rated him the second best player he’s seen in their shirt next to Alan Comfort. I also thought old Smudger took to his new role slightly out of the limelight with aplomb when Wrighty turned up, i.e. from main goal scorer to hold up man. His book is worth a read too.

  3. mbg

    Oct 20, 2018, 23:03 #112441

    markymark, yes that's all it took, change, something we were all demanding and crying out for for fooking years, (but not all of us of course)and it came at last, and I defy any one to say it hasn't been for the better even this early, and that includes any wengerite who wanted him to remain and would have been quite happy for him to get another contract (God only knows the state we'd be in now and where we'd have ended up), even these devout moonies that are still roaming the wasteland searching for their messiah know it, but of course would never admit it. Come on Unai come on Arsenal.

  4. markymark

    Oct 20, 2018, 21:17 #112440

    Whisper it quietly but the Chelsea result went our way and Liverpool’s form or at least performances are starting to stutter. Of course our run will have to end at some point but I have a feeling that we may have a surprise in store for Liverpool. Can’t believe that Leicester will make it my 3rd home attendance this season it’s amazing how change can reignite the interest.

  5. mbg

    Oct 20, 2018, 13:31 #112439

    Exiled, good post, ah yes Kevin Campbell, thanks GoonerRon it's good to hear his name again now there WAS a player with a great engine, a real pit bull of a player no wee soft light weight nice boy there, he'd have had to lose weight/muscle now, wouldn't have lasted long under TOF, yes a bit unlucky/unfair Wrighty took the limelight, but never let it worry him like some of the premadonnas now always liked him.

  6. John F

    Oct 19, 2018, 21:10 #112438

    Another one to add to your list Ron is Peter Cech, he is also into his last year.

  7. John F

    Oct 19, 2018, 20:55 #112437

    I have often thought 1971 because of all his attributes you mention that he would of made a good attacking midfielder.

  8. 1971 Gooner

    Oct 19, 2018, 19:50 #112436

    Nicely written article Ron; I think part of the problem with Welbeck is that he does seem content with a bit part role, perhaps signalling a lack of ambition on his part? He does seem to have a lot going for him - powerful physique, fairly good in possession and all that but he does seem to fluff his lines somewhat when it matters. Maybe should do a Theo and seek more regular football a little lower down the league.

  9. Exiled in Pt

    Oct 19, 2018, 11:21 #112435

    Think our Dick has made his mind up on Ramsey , not so sure with Welbeck , my understanding is we will have problems with the amount of home grown players if both go without buying in 2 more home grown players to meet the PL rules. Still think Welbeck is a good squad player but like John F says he may want a team that will give him the role he left united in search for. As GoonerRon says we have some great kids coming through the system again .As for Kevin Campbell he was a goal scoring machine at all levels up to the first team where he was unlucky to have Wrighty arrive and dominate although still scored some great goals.

  10. markymark

    Oct 18, 2018, 19:58 #112434

    Just love this from Unai! It’s so refreshing at 10 years of Mental Speerit "For each minute, each ball, every metre in the 90 minutes to show every supporter we are deciding to win with the example on the pitch doing every action with this mentality. But this process is very hard and very long.“ Even accounting for the language barrier it rocks , in fact I love the slight skewering of the English . It somehow has more impact

  11. mbg

    Oct 18, 2018, 19:03 #112433

    I think Unai's mind has been made up on Ramsey and a few others for a while now, to get shot of another wenger indoctrinated devotee, he has come out today and said he wants to stay, (maybe he's realised there's life after wenger and good things ahead) Ozil being over paid 200 plus grand grand a week isn't helping his cause (another over hyped over priced player wengers legacy has left us, remember all the others we were stuck with ?)But like I said it looks like Unai has made up his mind.

  12. John F

    Oct 18, 2018, 16:44 #112432

    Ozil being on 350G a week making him almost impossible to shift probably had an influence on the Ramsey situation.If Ramsey had got his 200G a week deal then Arsenal would of had three players with the combined wage of over 700G a week vying for one position.It is very poor that they didn't sort him out in the summer I bet Stans wig probably did a few twirls on his head on hearing the club yet again missed out on millions.Welbeck left Utd because he wanted to be played more and in a central position.He is having the same issues at Arsenal and is probably not too happy as suggested and maybe he is just waiting for the right club to come along.