Arsenal are no strangers to transfer setbacks which leave a lingering smog of regret, envy, bitterness and fury all rolled into one.
The sales of Robin Van Persie to Manchester United and Samir Nasri to Manchester City were those which particularly induced fury out of exasperated Gunners.
That anger was largely vented in the direction of the players in question, but the imminent departure of Aaron Ramsey has left supporters bemused at the club’s hierarchy rather than the Wales international.
Allowing him to leave on a free transfer appears illogical and foolish given the wealth of his talent and transfer value, but that is the reality which lies ahead.
His excellent all-round display against Napoli on Thursday, which he capped with a well taken opening goal, underlined his quality and reopened discussion over his move to Juventus.
And that discussion has extended into Football FanCast towers, where our writers have been discussing how high Ramsey’s departure ranks on the list of regrettable setbacks.
Even on a list including Nasri, Van Persie, Alexis Sanchez and Thomas Vermaelen it’s fair to say Ramsey ranks very highly indeed.
Here’s what our writers have had to say…
“Arsenal seem to have a habit of letting players leave far too easily. In recent memory Wojciech Szczesny to Juventus and Serge Gnabry to Bayern Munich stand out as ones that got away. But the fact Aaron Ramsey is being allowed to leave the club so easily and for free is madness to me. It’s certainly up there as the biggest blunder they’ve made. The midfielder will be near impossible to replace given his goals and assist output from midfield. His impact in the big games has dragged the Gunners through many games and they will struggle without him.”
“It probably ranks at the very top. Aaron Ramsey has been with Arsenal for so long and clearly cares about the club (a lot more than someone like Alexis Sanchez), and to get to a situation where you are losing him for nothing is unforgivable. The Welshman is in the prime years of his career and showed just how good he is in the win against Napoli on Thursday night. Stan Kroenke will live to regret this.”
“It’s certainly up there if not right at the top. The Welshman showed against Napoli on Thursday night, once again, how indispensable he is to the Gunners and, as long as he continues to impress week after week, Arsenal fans will surely feel even more agonised when he inevitably departs in the summer. It’s a huge mistake but credit to him for not throwing strops and continuing to give his best on the pitch, unlike some of the other players who have donned red and white in recent years.”
“I think what makes this such a huge kick in the teeth is that Unai Emery seems to be steering the club in a really positive direction. The signs are in place to suggest the Spaniard is laying the foundations of a massive future for the Gunners, but the departure of his most talented and senior central midfielder is undoubtedly a setback which won’t be forgotten quickly. This one is right up there with Van Persie in terms of the loss of quality, though the psychological effects will not be as profound with Ramsey moving to Serie A. The only silver lining is that the signings of Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira prove Arsenal’s scouting team are looking in all the right places for fresh talent.”