Not long after Arsenal's pre-season friendly victory over Atlético Madrid, in the blistering late night heat of Singapore, Unai Emery was asked about the future of Aaron Ramsey. The Welshman had handed the bracelet earlier that night, and Emery was confident that the 27-year-old and his representatives almost agreed to an extension of the contract against improved conditions.
"For me, I want him to stay with us, work with us, to give the team great performance with its quality," said Emery. "And I think he'll stay here with us, I think Aaron is an important player for us, the contract is one thing for the club and the player."
Exactly one month later and at first glance it seems as if little has changed. The two parties remain in discussion. Ramsey still has not put pen on paper for a new deal. And Emery apparently still wants to keep the Welshman in the club.
And yet there was a noticeable change in mood in the club's attitude towards the player, who started the game against Manchester City and then fell on the bench for the trip to Chelsea. Emery has also changed his melody and has previously chosen the charm offensive that characterized his first attempts to resolve the situation. Now he is no longer so unambiguous.
"I spoke with him last week," revealed Emery on Saturday Saturday in London with West Ham. "And I said: I want you to concentrate solely on training and only on the competition – you show us the capacity to help the team The contract is different for its agent and the club, but we want and I have to his focus only on training, only on the race and on his performance every day.
"I think in the present, I spoke with him last week, but now I concentrate on the game and I want the player to focus only on Saturday so that our players give our supporters quality and energy, and so they concentrate only . "
In the drive for a substantial improvement of his current £ 110,000 per week wages, Ramsey plays a dangerous game. It is only fair that Ramsey wants a better deal, given the £ 350,000-per-week extension awarded to Mesut Ozil in January, but such a tough approach will only make a profit if he retains the crucial role in the Emery team. initially had spoken about when joining. Put simply, if Emery drops him many times, he will probably not get the kind of lucrative deal that he wants.
Emery has already shown that he is not afraid to make the kind of big decisions that so many felt that Arsene Wenger had lost the courage to make. Jack Wilshere was allowed to leave on a day off. Ozil was immersed last weekend. And Ramsey was completely left behind in the first eleven, after a completely inefficient performance against Manchester City the week before.
Most worrying for Ramsey is that Emery is adamant. Ramsey's benching was not an insignificant powerplay, no sub warning that he is not as important to this team as he might like to think. Instead, he began a detailed explanation to insist that – no – Ramsey was omitted for football reasons. Omitted because there was another player in the team who could do that specific task better.
"Manchester City is a different team and so the preparation is very different compared to other competitions," said Emery. "Tactically they demand something different, Chelsea also differs from other teams, and we have to work very specifically to prepare ourselves.
"Saturday is also a difficult match, but we think more that we can control the match with our personality, and against Chelsea and Manchester City we wanted to control our personality, but in the 90 minutes that the opponents did not let us do that. , more times came in the 90 minutes. "
Emery is a pragmatist – a head coach who has shown that he is not afraid to switch between systems from week to week, in an effort to counteract the strengths of any side. But where does such tactical flexibility leave Ramsey behind? And with Ozil it is unlikely that this will soon be removed from the starting XI, how many more opportunities will Ramsey take in the middle?
And so the contract negotiations remain in an impasse, because clubs from the Premier League and beyond are floating with interest, only with a subtle shift in power. Prior to the season, Ramsey was the man who shot the shots, while Arsenal was afraid of a situation that looked like the final departure of Alexis Sanchez for Manchester United. But Emery's willingness to shake his pack could drop Ramsey's stock. The prospect of a new contract with a bumper is not nearly as strong as it once was.
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