Aaron Ramsey Never 'Found His Position' at Arsenal, Says Juventus Director
Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici has rubbed salt in Arsenal's wound by suggesting soon-to-be ex-Gunner Aaron Ramsey is yet to find his best position, despite spending almost 11 years at the Emirates Stadium.
The Bianconeri this week confirmed Ramsey has agreed to join them on a four-year contract in July. Paratici spoke to La Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Calciomercato.com) after the Welshman's capture was announced, and he suggested Juventus will get more out of the player than his previous club did:
"Ramsey is someone who never found his position because he hasn’t played in a midfield three, which is his role. We signed him as he's a different player from our current ones. He is one that does not exist in our squad. He has more technique than our mezzalas; even if he runs a lot.
"He is a final ball man who is capable to come in from deep with quick passing and he has an eye for goal. He can also play a bit further up the pitch because he runs a lot but is less nasty in defence and less tactical."
Ramsey, who turned 28 in December, posted a statement thanking Arsenal after the news became public on Monday:
Though a central midfielder by trade, the former Cardiff City starlet has shown promise in a number of positions, whether it be out wide or pushed into a more attacking role behind the strike force.
Andrea Tallarita of Football Italia explained the term "mezzala" is a contracted form of "mezza alla," which translates to "half wing(er)." A team deploying a 4-3-3 formation may therefore opt to field one central midfielder more strictly confined to the middle channel, with a mezzala at either side.
Paratici is correct in that there isn't a player quite like Ramsey at the Old Lady. Emre Can, Sami Khedira and Rodrigo Bentancur are all more defensively oriented and combative, while Miralem Pjanic perhaps doesn't boast the same athleticism and Blaise Matuidi isn't as technically gifted.
What seems clear from the Juve director's comments is that the Italian giants plan to optimise Ramsey's creativity and attacking potential, which Ramsey displayed in a 2014 UEFA Champions League clash against Galatasaray:
His exit from Arsenal has been somewhat mired after the club withdrew their previously agreed contract extension in September. It speaks volumes of his talent that Juventus, winners of the last seven Serie A titles and runners-up in two of the past four Champions League finals, moved to snap him up.
That's still a substantial amount less than the £350,000 per week that Mesut Ozil currently earns at the Emirates, per the Telegraph's Matt Law, and Juventus could still get the best years out of their pre-contract signing.
A new start in Italy signals a new chapter in Ramsey's career, and Paratici's anticipation of what's to come for the midfielder could make many at Arsenal regret his departure that much more.