The Guardian journalist assesses Ramsey's career and legacy at Arsenal
The Guardian's Amy Lawrence believes Aaron Ramsey, who is set to join the Serie A giants Juventus in the summer, will be remembered for his commitment at the Emirates.
Impressive on arrival
"He arrived at a place with fresh memories of winning the league unbeaten and reaching the Champions League final, who had recently moved into a more roomy and plush stadium, who spun a dream about winning more with the best young players they could find.
"But his early years at Arsenal would be marked by the clocking up of years without a trophy, and the latter ones – rescued by a string of FA Cups he would embellish with match-winning goals – became entangled with the difficult final act of Arsène Wenger’s tenure.
"Ramsey has been a constant throughout a period when pressure seldom let up, and he has played in his own way – trying things, working hard, never shy of commitment, seldom happier than when executing a dainty flick or spotting a well-timed run into the box.
"The essence of the player Ramsey has grown into showed itself right from the very start. Introducing himself to Arsenal in a friendly at Barnet in the pre-season of 2008-09 the young Welshman exhibited every trick in his book. Dinks and pirouettes, dragbacks and turns, a part of Ramsey’s makeup has always been committed to footballing art for footballing art’s sake."
Injury and glory
"In his second season he was growing in influence when his progress was horrifically curtailed by a shocking injury suffered in a foul by Ryan Shawcross at Stoke. A double fracture of his tibia and fibula in his right leg became one of the defining moments of his career.
"Fortunately for Ramsey, his rehabilitation went safely enough for his career to pick up unfettered, enabling him to enjoy some personal highlights he will always cherish. Twice he was the matchwinner for Arsenal at Wembley in the FA Cup finals of 2014 and 2017.
"For Wales he has felt the joy of international competition, and his excellence particularly at the 2016 European Championship in France shone for all to see."
Best deal by miles
"Moving on from Arsenal is something he will take in his quiet stride. Away from the game Ramsey remains quite old fashioned in the way he doesn’t care for being flash or getting carried away. Pushed on to the bench once Arsenal withdrew his contract extension, he has said nothing, got on with the job with professionalism and made himself available to play to his best whenever called on.
"Arsenal are losing the highest scoring central midfielder in their history for nothing, a hangover from the contract strategies run by Ivan Gazidis, which leaves the wage bill restricted for some top players while others remain on gargantuan deals.
"Ramsey’s freewheeling spirit on the pitch, always at his best when playing with positional freedom and less inclined to adhere to positional discipline, did not perhaps tick as many boxes for Emery as he was expecting when he arrived last summer and announced quite quickly how important it was that Ramsey stayed.
"The club played their hand. Now they have to go back into the market when Ramsey says his farewell to replace those goals and assists from midfield. Less simple is replacing all the club know how he has accumulated.
"As Ramsey knows from the summer he joined in 2008, sometimes a transfer has to be more about hope than expectation. Ramsey arrived in a mixed bag of a window: Wojciech Szczesny came into the youth team. Samir Nasri, then 21, was brought for technical spark and attitude.
"Few remember Amaury Bischoff, one of those regarded as a cheap long shot on the off chance he might turn into something. Few dare to remember Mikaël Silvestre, a veteran who made it look entirely understandable why Sir Alex Ferguson felt the time was right to give him away.
"Ramsey turned out to be the best deal by miles."