The 2017/18 season has come to a close and Arsenal aren’t any nearer to agreeing new deals for midfield duo Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey.
Wilshere is out of contract this summer and has so far rejected the terms put to him by Arsenal. Ramsey has one year left on his deal but has yet to agree to an extension, which could see Arsenal considering selling him this summer.
The current state of affairs is that both British players could be on their way out of the Emirates Stadium in the coming weeks, which would leave Arsene Wenger’s successor with a big problem.
Arsenal have Wilshere, Ramsey, Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny as their options in midfield – a playmaker, a box-to-box, a combative deep-lying playmaker and a defensive midfielder. There’s a lot of variety but not an obvious replacement for the other in case of injury, so it was expected that Arsenal would shop for one or two new faces to join the engine room.
Losing Wilshere and Ramsey would leave Arsenal’s midfield bare, forcing the new manager to rely upon the inexperienced Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Joe Willock for depth. The Gunners have been linked with some potential additions – Jean-Michael Seri (OGC Nice), Oğuzhan Özyakup (Besiktas), Jorginho (Napoli) – but whether they land their transfer targets is another matter.
The Gunners hired Huss Fahmy to negotiate contracts with the first-team players, but he’s made little to no progress with the two important midfielders and Arsenal could go into next season in worse shape than they are in right now.
The summer transfer window closes in early August and the 2018 World Cup will make it difficult to sign certain players, but Arsenal must have foreseen this problem when the new transfer window deadline was announced, so it’s surprising they’re playing hard-ball with Wilshere’s contract and risking losing him for nothing.
Given Arsenal sanctioned Wilshere’s exit 12 months ago, his departure a year wouldn’t be a total shock this summer. He’s struggled for Premier League starts in 2018 and hasn’t been in the best form when he was featured. Losing Ramsey, however, would be a crushing blow.
The Welsh international is indispensable and makes Arsenal tick at both ends of the pitch. The industrious midfielder is a threat in the final third and sees to his defensive duties at the other end. If the Gunners aren’t convinced he will sign a new deal, they can’t afford to lose him for free. He’s too valuable.
Arsenal may have to actively put him up for sale this summer, something The S*n say they’re considering. Wilshere’s agent is reportedly offering him out to other clubs as his career with the North-Londoners looks over. Ramsey’s representative may well have to do the same.
Given all the criticism Arsenal received for Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil running down their contracts until the last few months before their futures were eventually resolved – Alexis joined Manchester United and Henrikh Mkhitaryan came in the opposite direction, while Ozil signed a lucrative new deal in January – why have they allowed history to repeat itself?
Could Wilshere and Ramsey really leave the club this summer?