With Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey now confirmed to be a free agent in the summer, exactly how much could Liverpool do with his services? With the additions of Fabinho, Naby Keita in the summer just gone, alongside the tireless Gini Wijnaldum and captain Jordan Henderson, Ramsey may not find himself high in Jurgen Klopp’s league of extraordinary red men.
Experts discuss Ramsey's next move.
Liverpool are said to be rivalled by two fellow luminaries for the Welshman’s signature, namely Real Madrid and Manchester United. Only Ramsey himself knows if those rumours hold any gravity, but there are very few top flight clubs across the continent that he could consider ‘fair game’
Boy wonder gets torn asunder
While Ramsey’s Arsenal career has seen him as an effective box-to-box midfielder when on form, problems with injuries have made him one of the biggest ‘what if’ stories of the past ten years. Indeed, it was in the 2007/08 season that he first rose to real prominence, having made a real impact for Cardiff City in the Championship.
It didn’t take long for Ramsey to start getting the assists that would boost his name into the stratosphere. He set up Emmanuel Adebayor in a 4-0 win over Blackburn and continued to grow as a great all-rounder. His career was infamously stalled by Ryan Shawcross in February 2010, with a tackle from the Stoke defender breaking two bones in Ramsey’s leg.
The numbers behind the news
Many Arsenal fans will assert that this event ruined what could have been a much more trophy-laden career. In the immediacy, however, Ramsey will be remembered as a man who acted as the nucleus of an Arsenal side that cannot yet hope to command anywhere near the same outright title odds as Manchester City (or Liverpool).
No leg sustaining such an injury can ever truly be the same again, but with the current Liverpool odds found at redbet showing a newly lengthened price of 3.25 for the Premier League after a late Champions League defeat at Napoli, Liverpool are still in need of cost-effective extra options. For those who want empirical justification in the possibility of Ramsey’s move to Anfield, the raw statistics make this far from the worst move in the world.
According to Squawka, last season saw Aaron Ramsey acquire a pass completion rate of 85%, beating Liverpool positional rival Naby Keita by 4%, and doing so in what many perceive as a far more competitive league. Those who share that perception will also assert that Keita was afforded greater licence to roam and be dynamic, and this is evidenced by his greater ratio of key passes and chances created per game. Nonetheless, Ramsey still managed to outscore Keita 8-5 in the assists department.
Keita & Ramsey - positional rivals or a match made in heaven?
Keita injury creates opportunity
The Anfield faithful know that Keita is the closest man to Ramsey in terms of being an attacker as much as a master distributor. The Guinean’s opening day performance against West Ham was a particularly prominent case in hand, and he was also seen making some particularly daring runs in the win at Leicester on 15 September.
While Keita’s first significant injury as a Liverpool player has ultimately transpired to be less severe than initially feared, only time will tell as to whether or not it will have any repercussions on how Keita adapts to Klopp’s electrifying brand of football. A more optimistic way of seeing Ramsey’s for-now hypothetical transfer to Liverpool would be to consider him an ally, rather than a positional rival for Keita.
With two pass-masters capable of playing box to box, Liverpool could have a good medium between the ageing James Milner’s visionary style, and the tireless, pragmatic game championed by Wijnaldum. Still at the peak of his career, Ramsey’s departure to a Premier League rival would almost certainly represent an opportunity missed for the Reds.