Rivals Eye Up Arsenal Star
Arsenal are confident that they will be able to keep hold of midfielder Aaron Ramsey despite interest from a number of clubs.
Wales international Ramsey is in the final year of his contract at the Emirates and has been linked with interest from Chelsea, Manchester United, Barcelona and Serie A side Lazio. There is also reported to be interest from clubs in the Chinese Super League.
The situation regarding Ramsey is a repeat of the beginning of last season when Arsenal found themselves in talks with Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez both of whom had entered the final year of their respective contracts. That wasn’t resolved until the end of January this year when Sanchez left for Manchester United and Ozil signed a new deal worth £350,000 a week.
The uncertainty affected Arsenal on the pitch and the Gunners hierarchy want to avoid a repeat. But the cost of the new deal for Ozil and a £300,000-a-week contract for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who was signed from Borussia Dortmund at the end of January puts the club in a difficult position. The wage bill at the Emirates has soared to around £200million a year. Ramsey will look at the wages paid to Ozil and Aubameyang and will demand something similar. A figure of £250,000 a week in being talked about. That’s more than double his current pay.
Of the interested clubs, Arsenal have more to fear from other sides in the Premier League than overseas contenders. The Chinese Super League is still a low-profile competition and while Ramsey could earn more than he would at Arsenal it would mean consigning himself to footballing oblivion. Lazio cannot afford £250,000 a week and it would even be a big ask for Barcelona.
Ramsey is free to speak to overseas clubs in January about a pre-contract agreement.
That leaves Chelsea and Manchester United as potential rivals for his signature with the west London side slight favourites.
Arsenal will hoping it doesn’t come to that. For his part, Ramsey is ready to sit tight and await developments for the time being.