Football Features

A romantic Arsenal return or saving the day at Newcastle? Aaron Ramsey’s potential transfer destinations

By Chris Smith

Published: 16:36, 24 November 2021

After three years away, Aaron Ramsey looks set to return to the Premier League this January.

Despite notching 12 direct goal involvements in 70 appearances so far, the Wales international’s Italian adventure hasn’t quite worked out, with his face never quite fitting at Juventus.

Still just 30 years old, Ramsey has plenty left to offer to the right club. Coming back to the familiar comforts of the Premier League might just be the best move at this point in his career.

So, where could Ramsey end up this winter? Let’s take a look at the dream, realistic and wildcard options:

Dream: Arsenal

Ramsey’s Arsenal farewell in 2019 was an emotional occasion for all involved, not least the man himself who teared up more than once.

“Obviously it’s very emotional, it’s been a hell of a journey,” he said at the time. “Eleven years of my life, so much has happened in that, when I look back.

“You can tell by my voice how much it means to me. I spent 11 years here, I came here 17 years old – a boy – and I’m leaving a man. I’ve got a family, my wife, my kids, so much has happened, I’m just grateful for the opportunity here.”

On paper, a return to Arsenal doesn’t make that much sense. Mikel Arteta’s rebuild at the Emirates looks to be centred around exciting young talents like Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Aaron Ramsdale — bringing in a 30-year-old on a considerable wage seems to run counter to what the Gunners are trying to achieve.

But perhaps an experienced head, who is familiar with the club and is keen to rejuvenate his career isn’t the worst addition Arteta can make? Given the emotion he showed upon leaving the club, you’d wager Ramsey would be happy to return, too.

Sky Bet currently price Ramsey at 12/1 to rejoin Arsenal. There are more likely options, but none more romantic.

Realistic: Newcastle United

Newcastle need quality and experience, and they need it fast. The Magpies are currently stranded at the bottom of the Premier League without a single win from 12 games so far. Suffering relegation isn’t exactly good optics for their new ownership’s first season in charge.

One area in which Newcastle are desperately short is creativity and dynamism in midfield. Miguel Almiron aside, there are no midfielders in the squad who can both progress the ball forward and make late runs into the box to support the likes of Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximan. Almiron himself has struggled greatly this season, but was often played out of position by Steve Bruce and could improve under Eddie Howe. Joe Willock could also fulfil this role, but hasn’t hit the heights he managed during his loan spell in the second half of 2020/21.

Between the likes of Jonjo Shelvey, Isaac Hayden and Sean Longstaff there is a lot of industry and battle, but little in the way of craft. Just 11 chances created and zero assists from those three players combined so far this season.

Newcastle certainly have the financial capacity to sign Ramsey and he would undoubtedly offer plenty of quality and experience to help get them out of the mess they’re in. Sky Bet make the Magpies 4/1 favourites to land his signature, but does Ramsey himself fancy the challenge?

Wildcard: Tottenham Hotspur

There’s no way Ramsey would cross the north London divide, right?

Well, Tottenham were linked with the Welshman over the summer and there’s certainly room in Antonio Conte’s newly-inherited midfield for a bit of extra quality, even if Ramsey himself took Spurs off the table in 2018. “No” was his very blunt answer when asked if he would ever sign for Tottenham — the club he notched three goals and two assists against and beat six times as an Arsenal player.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is the only nailed-on starter in the Spurs midfield and Ramsey’s intelligent movement might just be perfect for running beyond Harry Kane and supporting Son Heung-min.

But his substantial wage demands and history with the Gunners are obvious reasons to push this potential move into the ‘wildcard’ pile. Perhaps a more likely destination could be Everton, who are desperately short of an attacking midfielder and are priced at 5/1 by Sky Bet to sign Ramsey.