OPINION: Frosty farewell from Gunners midfielder who scored two goals to win an FA Cup final, but embodied a deflating era for Arsenal
15 February, 2019 — By Richard Osley
Aaron Ramsey, who is leaving the Emirates Stadium to join Juventus, sent his ‘kind regards’ to Arsenal fans
KIND regards? After all we’ve been through together, Aaron Ramsey signed off his farewell note to Arsenal fans with “kind regards”. An autosignature ending to another Gunner who was always almost going to be brilliant.
Kind regards, indeed.
That’s the kind of thing a bank manager ends a letter with when they’ve just said “No, no you can’t have that loan or mortgage.” It’s a fish of a final handshake.
“I will continue to give the team 100 per cent and hope to finish the season strongly before heading on to my next chapter in Turin,” he said, adding an Italian flag emoji, as if we’re all going on holiday with him.
“Kind regards, Aaron.” Kind fudging regards. There are, of course, lots of favourable things that can be said about Ramsey’s time at Arsenal: not many players score two goals to win the FA Cup final; he came back from that terrible leg break and, unlike some of his colleagues, he never seemed to be openly flirting with other clubs until it became apparent Arsenal did not want or could not afford to retain him.
But he is still a player who has embodied a deflating era for Arsenal – flashes of absolute brilliance, undone by a lack of consistency. He was good, but never a player who fans of opposing top-six teams really feared. The most frustrating period was at the end of the 2016 season when he was among the Arsenal players apparently struggling for any real form. As soon as Euro 2016 began, however, Ramsey was suddenly full of energy for Wales.
And yet, at the end of 11 promising but ultimately fatiguing years at Arsenal, Ramsey is now rewarded with a raise, collecting £80million for the four years of work ahead of him in Italy.
There may be comment that Arsenal have let a decent player slip away, but rival clubs should be terrified by what’s happened. If you were, say, Christian Eriksen, and you saw someone of Ramsey’s quality reaching the end of his contract and then commanding a gluttonous pay rise as well as keeping all of what would have been a transfer fee for themselves, why would you tie yourself into a long contract? Ramsey is going to be the highest-paid British footballer in the world, without blowing anybody’s minds. Think what others will now expect to be paid.