Scott Groom discusses whether or not Liverpool are missing a trick by not looking to sign Aaron Ramsey as the Welshman nears the end of his Arsenal career.
Aaron Ramsey has been heavily linked with a move to Liverpool in the media since it was announced that he will be leaving Arsenal on a free transfer at the end of the season.
The Welshman has fallen out of favour with The Gunners under new boss Unai Emery and will seek pastures new next summer, meaning he is free to sign a pre-contract agreement with another club in January.
As soon as his position at The Emirates was made common knowledge, Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool side was one of the first big names to be linked with a move for Ramsey, and those rumours haven’t really gone away – apart from in the last few days.
The latest reports indicate that Bayern Munich have won the race to secure Ramsey’s services from the start of the new season, leaving many wondering what might have been should Liverpool have won that race.
Now, before we go any further, it must be said that these rumours are totally unconfirmed at this point in time and could all prove to be the transfer rumour mill spinning wildly out of control. In November. Wonderful.
However, if Ramsey has indeed opted for a move to the Bundesliga, have Liverpool missed a trick? Let’s have a closer look.
The pros of Ramsey joining Liverpool
You cannot deny that Ramsey is a talent and that most teams would welcome him with open arms if he turned up on their doorstep.
The 27-year-old has enjoyed a stellar career at Arsenal after being signed by Arsene Wenger from Cardiff City back in 2008 for a measly £5 million. During his 10 years in the capital, he’s established himself as a real talent and as a player that is more than capable of his place in one of the Premier League’s better sides.
He has notched up an impressive 347 appearances in an Arsenal shirt and has accumulated 60 goals and 61 assists in those games, equating to a direct involvement in a goal roughly every three games. Not bad going at all, and someone with his experience and proven Premier League quality are obviously traits that will have caught Liverpool’s attention when it became known that he was available.
There’s also Ramsey’s technical ability and preferred playing style that will have undoubtedly led to many thinking that Klopp would be interested in him.
Ramsey is a dynamic, attack-minded, creative and energetic central midfielder who has a natural flair and goal-scoring ability.
Given the current debate surrounding Liverpool’s midfield, it would be hard to not at least consider Ramsey as critics continue to call for Liverpool’s attacking prowess of last season to return.
Ramsey could be the man who could have provided that, especially considering the fact that Liverpool missed out on their primary creative target in Nabil Fekir in the summer, and that new signing Naby Keita has had a somewhat unsettled start to life at Anfield due to injuries.
Combine all of this with the fact that Adam Lallana seems past his best and so will need replacing in the squad and James Milner, as incredible as he is, simply will not last forever and will inevitably stand-down at some point. Ramsey could be the man to fill any of these voids.
These are all qualities that the Reds would probably be willing to pay up for, so to take Ramsey on a free with these things considered seems like a bit of a no-brainer.
The cons of Ramsey joining Liverpool
Although there seems to be a lot of things stacked in favour of Liverpool making a move for Ramsey, there are also a few things that should be taken into account before diving head first into any deal.
One of these will be that Ramsey will likely demand high wages. While this is something relatively minor and can be negotiated, it could also be something that has the potential to cause problems in the dressing room.
The new guy coming into the team and demanding more money than vital members of the team might not go down so well, and we all know how Klopp feels about squad harmony.
Although this is a very hypothetical thing to discuss at this point in time, it marries perfectly with another potential problem: would Ramsey be happy coming to Liverpool and inevitably end up being rotated regularly?
Liverpool’s midfield is highly competitive as things stand, and there’s still Ramsey’s former teammate, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to come back into contention, so the likelihood is that Ramsey would be rotated in and out of the starting XI or have his chances limited to appearances from the bench.
Would someone who is leaving Arsenal due to a lack of game time be willing to do the same at Liverpool? He could quite easily allay those fears as Xherdan Shaqiri has done since he moved from Stoke City in the summer.
There is also the fact that by the time he is to join a new club next summer, he will be 28-years-old, so is edging towards the twilight of his career. Although professional players are continuing to play at a higher level for longer, it doesn’t really fit in with Klopp’s image of building a squad for the future.
Players like James Milner who still look fresh at 32-years-old are a rarity, and Ramsey also has a bit of a rocky history with injuries – which could have already potentially limited his career in terms of length.
While 28 is certainly not old, Klopp has been vocal on the fact that he wants to build a young and vibrant squad that will serve Liverpool well for years to come, and Ramsey breaks that mould a little.
It’s difficult to say whether making a move for Aaron Ramsey is the best thing for Liverpool to do, but as a free transfer, the temptation is always there.
It is one that does present its risks, but can it really hurt to have someone with his quality and experience in the squad? I think not. At the end of the day, he’s not going to cost anything, so there’s little for the Reds to lose.
I just don’t think that signing him should mean that Liverpool don’t still continue to look for midfield reinforcements.