Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has slammed the club’s ‘stupidity’ in letting Aaron Ramsey’s contract enter its final year. Ramsey, who was told he wouldn’t be part of Unai Emery’s plans going forward, looks set to join Serie A giants Juventus when his contract expires at the end of the season.
Ramsey is Arsenal’s longest serving current player, and has already written his name in the club’s history books with goals in consecutive cup finals – as well as becoming the club’s highest scoring midfielder of all time.
This is becoming an all too familiar scenario for Arsenal; they’ve seen the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain force moves after refusing to sign new contracts, and Mesut Ozil received a bumper pay rise after letting his contract run to the final year.
Merson told Sky Sports: “It’s stupidity from Arsenal to allow someone of Ramsey’s quality to let their contract run down. It’s yet another player after Alexis Sanchez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott. Players’ contracts come to an end then they all leave on frees.
“In footballing terms, it’s criminal. It’s like buying an £80m house, waiting for the leasehold to run out and losing the house. Arsene Wenger sorted out his contract every year but seemed to forget everyone else’s. I wouldn’t mind if all these players were 35 years of age or older, but they are in the prime of their careers when they are playing their best football ever.”
Merson went on to point out that Arsenal now have the headache of having to replace Ramsey.
“Arsenal had a player in Ramsey that was proven,” he continued. “Now they’ve got to go and get someone that probably hasn’t played in the Premier League and will need time to adjust. It’s poor. Arsenal can replace him but it’s going to cost £40m-£50m. That’s where the stupidity comes into it.”