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Why Has Ramsey Snubbed Us For Arsenal?

Recently, I wrote about the potential new signing, Aaron Ramsey, after we had been tipped favourites to sign him.

Last week, Cardiff boss, Dave Jones, spoke in favour of United signing their talented young player. “We have no doubts whatsoever that Aaron could make the grade at somewhere like Manchester United,” he said. “We would not let him go there if we had any doubts. United are the major force in European football, if not the best club in the world, and with the squad of players they have that domination is set to continue for some time to come. I believe Aaron can go there and play a valuable part in that in the future.”

However, it has today been announced that the Welsh lad is turning us, the English and European Champions, down, for a move to the Emirates instead. Why?

“Cardiff City were informed on Friday morning that Aaron Ramsey’s preferred destination this summer is at Emirates Stadium with Arsenal,” read a statement on Cardiff’s official website. “We will now continue the dialogue with the Gunners with a view to Aaron’s move being completed. The move unlike other options, however, does not include a loan back period at Ninian Park for the 2008/09 season.”

Doesn’t Want To Return To Cardiff

United tried to sweeten the deal by giving Cardiff an option of keeping Ramsey on loan for the duration of next season. This would be a perfect solution for both clubs. Cardiff would get to keep their player, whilst not paying his wages, and United would get to see Ramsey playing regular football. This would be ideal.

However, this agreement does not take in to consideration the feelings of Ramsey. If the loan option was written in to his contract, then he would have little choice but to remain in Cardiff. This doesn’t sound too bad, but if Ramsey is really keen to get away from Wales and come to the Premiership, then he is being put in a compromising situation. To turn down the loan move would mean the club and fans who have been investing all their time in him would know he’d turned down the chance to play for them one more season.

Arsenal did not include an option to have him loaned back to Cardiff, meaning Ramsey’s decision is made for him. He was probably lead to believe that this means he’ll be playing a substantial enough part in Arsenal’s season to not need a loan period away.

Playing Time

Wenger has obviously made Ramsey aware of the comparative size of the squads. With a first XI yet to be decided upon at United, the likes of Hargreaves, Carrick, Park, Nani and Anderson can be found on our bench, with competition for the first team so fierce. In contract, if we look at Arsenal’s visit to Old Trafford in April, Theo Walcott was the best of the bench, joining Nicklas Bendtner, Justin Hoyte, Lukasz Fabianski and Johan Djourou. The full squads are leagues apart, and Ramsey will believe he will have a much better chance of making the first team at Arsenal over United. And he’s probably right.

However, it is important to note that Theo Walcott, who has two years in age on Ramsey, as well as almost three seasons at the club already, played in just 39 of Arsenal’s 58 matches last season (67% of the possible playing time). He started 11 out of 38 Premiership games and just 20 games overall, (which includes several League Cup appearances, which is a Cup Wenger gives to the second team). Walcott has now been at Arsenal for two and a half years, yet rarely gets to start. In contrast, at United, 20-year-old Nani in his first season at Old Trafford played in 40 of United’s 56 matches last season (71% of the possible playing time).

“If they are good enough, they are old enough,” said Sir Matt Busby, which is still the way we do business. If Ramsey feels he’s got a better chance of breaking through the ranks at Arsenal, then so be it. I personally would prefer a player who had the confidence in themselves to get to the top regardless of their age or the competition.

Expectation At United Too High

Last week, Eric Harrison, who brought the “kids” of the 90s through the ranks, gave Ramsey a warning of what would be expected of him if he was to sign for United. “He will have to have a top class attitude, show 200 per cent commitment and be thinking Man Utd 24 hours a day,” he said. “I know all that sounds corny but that’s the levels needed if you want to succeed there, because if he gets carried away he’s got no chance. All the boring stuff that you don’t hear about these top players in the newspapers, the hard work, the training, all the right things, that’s what’s required to give you any hope of making it there. If he goes to United and his attitude is right, then he will have the chance of a fantastic career as part of a great team. But knowing the club as I do, everything has to go in his favour for it to happen. Being signed for all that money is all well and good, but not only have you got to impress the manager and the staff, the hardest thing is impressing the other players because they will quickly suss if he’s not up to it. You’ve got to go there and show you’re worth your place – and that’s not easy.”

It is possible that 17-year-old Ramsey doesn’t feel ready for this sort of pressure yet. United are the biggest club in the World and have just won the best two trophies going. In contrast, Arsenal have had yet another disappointing, trophyless season, despite leading the table for much of 2007-2008. He won’t feel the same pressure and need for results at Arsenal as he would at United. The fact that Wenger is sitting comfortably in his position after four years without winning the title and three years without winning anything clearly shows the difference in pressure and expectation between the clubs.

Essentially, if Ramsey doesn’t want to play for United, that’s his look out. If being shown around Carrington last Friday by captain Gary Neville and if joining the team of his idol, Ryan Giggs, isn’t enough for him, then we certainly won’t be losing any sleep over it.

I do wonder though how easy Ramsey will be sleeping in years to come when reflecting on this life changing decision.

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. austin reynolds says:

    anyone but united- when i read ur name i thought u were a utd fan callin himself that to take the piss. but ur a real abu, lol sad b******, get a life!
    bet ur sick that, in-gur-land are s***e!

    p.s. brown,oshea,fletch. just to answer ur question on who since. not the greatest players in the world by all means but still able and needed squad players that contribute to us winning MAJOR trophies. people like pique rossi and evans are better then those 3 all be it in different positions. the main problem theses days compared to when fergies fledglings broke thru is that we have WAY MORE quality in front of the kids so its harder to break thru. anyone with half a brain can see this. there are a HELL OF A LOT of ex utd players around the “top end” of the championship. or lower end of the prem. jones,spector,campbell, sylan blake, richardson, evans and ginge at sunderland!
    the list goes on, and so does our youth development. always will be ingrained into our club.

  2. Red Yank says:

    Never assume a deal is done until it’s official. I thought the likelihood of Ramsey joining United were high but Arsenal offered a better option if indeed he wanted to play PL football next year. Wenger is adept at developing young talent so I can see how it could have been more appealing for a young player eager to play at the top level.

    I’m not that disappointed because we have a strong team, and while the addition of another talented player is great I think our focus has to be in other areas than the midfield. Whether Ramsey will play for Arsenal in anything other than Carling Cup matches remains to be seen but he’s a great signing. The big question for me if I were an Arsenal fan is when to expect some success from the young talent Wenger signs. Arsenal play some great football but United have managed to do play equally attractive football and get silverware. Arsenal’s seasons of late have a “bridge too far” feel to them and I’m sure the club’s supporters want more than the promise of next year, especially when several have already escaped them with nothing to show for their efforts.

  3. dan says:

    firstly, good to see some sensible views from arsenal and man u fans in the top part of the comments.

    as for ramsey, no one here is a mind reader so unless he comes out and actually says i snubbed man u for arsenal because…. we will never really know.

    everyone thought united had him in the bag clearly including your press office fergie and queiroz, and arsenal and manu fans

    the giggs factor is pretty much negated by the loan back as you cant really believe giggs will still be playing a big part in 2 seasons time?

    the fact that your manager didnt even send a high profile director or his assistant to meet him and wenger had our director and our chief scout meet him at the ground before flying him out for a face to face, obviously made the player feel we cared more about getting him / werent taking it for granted.

    saying that he isnt up for a challenge is ridiculous we have 8 or 9 young midfielders all looking to break through many his age or younger, thats without the experienced first teamers

    fact is it wont be the last time we both want a player and it isnt the 1st or last time theyll turn one or the other of us down, you cant sign every good player on the planet. im sure your still happy with your squad and both clubs will go on with or without him as for the bloggers comment about him sleeping easy,,, theres no need to throw your toys out the pram and starty chatting garbage!

  4. Anyone but united..... says:

    Tom F I got your snide innuendo regarding Arsene Wenger. So for your high flown words you show yourself to be cheap. As for the word ‘past’. It means Ramsey was not part of season 2007-2008, his future is 2008-2009. Clear enough! It’s not difficult.

  5. Primachenko says:

    is arsenal in business of winning trophies or running a stadium construction company with kindergarten on the side?

  6. Tom F says:

    Sorry ANYONE BUT UNITED, it was cheap.. I couldn’t resist. I have no problem with Wenger or the fact that Ramsay chose Arsenal. They play good football.

  7. Hassan Mirza says:

    I cannot believe the arrogance of this article. So what if somebody wants to snub a move to United….is rgar such a crime? Maybe he believes in Wenger more than Ferguson and feels he can be developed into a world class player. Look at Henry, Vieira, Anelka, Fabregas….do I have to continue? They made their names at Arsenal as will Ramsey.

    He’s made the right choice for a youngster and there is no big conspiracy….he just wanted to join a club he believes is best for his career.

  8. jimmy Bob says:

    looney gooner our prices may have gone up but they are still cheaper than yours
    plus unlike arsenal who in fairness are a big team in london and the home counties we are known and supported throughout the world
    don’t know worry about us , you worry what happens when wenger goes and all of your foreign legion toddle off with him

    never mind maybe you can bring bruce rioch!

  9. jimmy Bob says:

    yes hassan i can see a shed load of british players who have made their name under wenger in your list

    try looking at SAF with giggs scholes neville etc etc for someone who can work with british talent

    ps henry was a £11m buy with a world cup winners medal stop pretending he was some unknown bought for £150k

  10. Hassan Mirza says:

    At the end of the day, pick your toys back up.

    Henry may have cost 11m but he was a winger who was struggling with form nd confidence.

    Ramsey has made a decision that will hold him in good stead for the future. Why is it such a big crime that he has snubbed Man Utd for Arsenal? Why does it have to be a conspiracy? Why does it have to be for any reason apart from the fact that he wants to play for Wenger?

    Look at the carling cup for the last two years… and semi final with a bunch of youngsters who wenger is grooming for the future….why does it matter where they were born….what does it matter if they are british or spanish or french????

  11. Tom F says:

    It’s not a crime hassan… it’s called a discussion. For United fans, by United fans… if you spent more time on your own teams pages you wouldn’t get so offended.

    I like the banter though so I hope you keep adding the news feeds.

  12. jimmybob says:

    Look at the carling cup for the last two years… and semi final with a bunch of youngsters who wenger is grooming for the future….why does it matter where they were born….what does it matter if they are british or spanish or french????

    OK Then lets go down that route nani and anderson are what 19 and 21
    already have a pl and a cl medal

    well done SAF

  13. TonyC says:

    lol, and how much did nani and anderson cost between them? 33m wasn’t it? For that Wenger bought Toure, Hleb, Adebayor, Van Persie and Fabregas and STILL had over 10m left over. Take the money away from Fergie and he couldn’t manage his way out of a paper bag.
    Moan Utd are in severe debt and could go bust in a few years, then the glory hunting plastic fans (which make up 90% of your fans) will go elsewhere and you know what? The whole country will pi55 themselves laughing

  14. Amz says:

    the reason he choose Arsenal is that fergie is going in 3 years, Ronaldo looks to be on his way out and Arsenal have a number of players of a simular age, who are all at a simular level to him, which will make the move easier. & Giggs wont be around for much hlonger.

    Although i believe Fergie to be a great judge of when to put a new player in, and how to condition his personality.

    He has competition next season with the likes of:

    Walcott, Vela, Rosiky, (Hleb or Nasri) Randell, Lansbury, Wiltshire (Next Fabrigas) Gibbs.

    These are just some of the wingers at Arsenal he may have 2 compete with. Ok he is better than some already.

  15. Amz says:

    Am an Arsenal fan, i think its a little stupid for Arsenal fans to talk about other clubs going bust, and being in debt.

    Whats the point lets just concentrate on our selves at the moment. we had Dein leaving and then Endelman.

    Its not all plain sailing behind the scenes at Arsenal either, What would we do if Wenger left.

  16. Tom F says:

    Amz do you realise how arrogant you sound, let alone how ignorant you are.

    The difference with Nani and Anderson is that he have come in to Uniteds first team and performed well from day one, they didn’t take years to pregress.

    You’ll see over the next two seasons that Anderson will be one of the best midfielders in the world. So will Fabregas, he is quality also.

  17. Jimmybob says:

    Take the money away from Fergie and he couldn’t manage his way out of a paper bag

    yeah and we all saw how he struggeled with aberdeen lol

    do us a favour son and try and do a bit of research before you make yourself look a fool

  18. Jimmybob says:

    Moan Utd are in severe debt and could go bust in a few years

    another pearler, united are in the top 2 clubs in the world in terms of fanbase
    we have the highest turnover and will never go bust
    now arsenal are a big club in london and possibly the home counties but they will never ever be able to match united
    if yoru arsenals bank manager wenger must be your hero, if your an arsenal fan maybe you should be asking him why he hasn;t spent a few more quid and actually won something in recent years

    if fergie had the two years wenger had then he would have been hammered by the media and would have them crying for his head

    double standards have always applied to arsenal, mainly due to the huge ammounts of ex players in the media who cut wenger so much slack despire the lack of trophies next to SAF
    the appalling disciplinary record of his team and the fact only 1 one out of his match 16 is british

    these facts are all swept under the carpet by the likes of
    bbc dixon
    sky marwodd charlie nic merson alan smith
    talk sport wright, groves etc

    face it you have underacheived in recent years and this myth that your a hybrid of brazil 170 and ajax on the mid 70s has been shattered

  19. Hassan Mirza says:

    You all seem to be a bit delluded…..if wenger spent £30m on two players, they would also be in the arsenal first team and become the best okayers in the world.

    Just stop crying and accept the fact that Ramsey has made his choice due to footballing reasons and not financial.

    Ramsey has stated himself that he joined for the following reasons:

    “It is an honour to be wanted by massive clubs like Arsenal, Manchester United and Everton. In the end I had to make the decision I felt was right for my future. I have come a fair way since then, but there is still a lot of hard work ahead.”

    “Also, United’s representative was some mouthy little manc who can’t even grow a proper moustache. How can I be expected to sign for a club when the bloke’s facial hair looks like a teenagers pubes glued to his upper lip? “

  20. Jason says:

    Fergie did have 3 recent years where he didn’t win anything !! don’t you remember.
    Fact is Wenger is doing things a different way and is creating an Ajax type set-up where he’s developed the academy side and all the teams play the same and are filled with top talent.

    Whilst manure buy youth, they do not seem to have the same focus on this. They continue to pay £15 mill plus for slightly established talent, rather than go for 17 yr olds for less.

    We’ll see over the coming yrs how things evolve. I’m personally confident in Wengers vision for the future.

  21. Scott the Red says:

    Jason – care to tell us when those three years were?

    As I’ve said, look it up, and you’ll see that since 1990, Fergie hasn\t gone longer than ONE SEASON without winning something.

  22. gooner28 says:

    Obviously he would choose arsenal over united.
    If you were a 17 year old wonderkid who do you think you would progress with

  23. john says:

    it just should be obvious to anyone who can count that the young players (and other players) man u have brought in during arsenal’s trophyless phase cost infinitely more money than those brought in at arsenal – which means, i repeat, that what has separated man u and chelsea from arsenal (possibly until this close season when there seems to be a semblance of competition from the arsenal end eg talk of santa cruz going to arsenal) is money or attittudes to accumulating debt. you don’t honestly think that if wenger had the financial clout he wouldn’t use it, do you?
    when it comes to style of play although man u have definitely moved forward with addition of tevez and last two years of ronaldo, it is still arsenal that europe rates. it is only a matter of time and money before this is translated into success. closer this season than last..

  24. TopCat says:

    Mancs seems to be missing the point here.

    We are not laughing at you because Ramsey chose us over you, we are laughing because yet again Manchester’s fans are displaying a level of arrogance that only United can show.

    You guys have just won a double, something which even the most saunch Gooner would give you props for, show some bloody humility and accept the fact that United is just another club and not every player in the world dreams of playing for you.

    As Ramsey himself has said, he feels he could have a better footballing future at Arsenal than with you. Thats it, get over it. He won’t be the first to feel that way or the last.

  25. Buzz says:

    Internet war lol

  26. Buzz says:

    I hear C Ronaldo is on his way to Madrid after the Euro’s. That would be fun.

  27. Jimmybob says:

    Fergie did have 3 recent years where he didn’t win anything !! don’t you remember

    err No I Can’t because it didn’t happen

    is still arsenal that europe rates.

    so not the team that won the pl twice in the last two years and has made the cl semi the previous yea and then won it this year
    nope it’s clearly arsenal

    do you actually beleive that rubbish?

    You all seem to be a bit delluded…..if wenger spent £30m on two players, they would also be in the arsenal first team and become the best okayers in the world.

    what like reyes and jeffers you mean?

    lol this is like shooting fish in barrell

    keep em gooners, who you gonna drag up to fight your corner next, lofty watts? ;)

  28. Hassan Mirza says:

    The arrogance of manyoo fans is astounding. I can’t stand the arse but just because this kid chooses to sign for them instead of manyoo he has no ambition? correct me if i’m wrong but arsenal were not that far away from winning things last season and maybe, just maybe Ramsay felt that playing under wenger would be better for his development – or ‘god forbid’ he acually prefers arsenal as a club – noooo that can’t be right, who in their right mind would ever choose not to go to the greatest team in the world that ever existed. Get a grip manyoo fans, you aren’t the be all and end all of football as a certain Mr Ronaldo has shown you.

  29. Hassan Mirza says:

    Alex Ferguson had a good record with youngsters but this was back in the late 90s with beckham , Scholes Giggs etc what has happened since the . United have gone out and spent hundreds of millions of pounds to make the team they have now. They bring in the finished article. Arsenal by contrast still develop young talent and there is a place in his team for them. Maybe this is what Ramsey saw.

  30. jimmy Bob says:

    they werent that far from winning thinsg about 180 miles south ;)

  31. Phoenixred says:

    Hassan Mirza: what about Campbell, Simpson and the rest in our reserve team, just because they haven’t been given a chance in out first team doesn’t mean they aren’t good. Did i just read that you said you’re not an Arsenal fan..sure, could have fooled me. And yeah those 100′s of millions have helped us win trophies through a strong squad, the 100′s of pence that Arsenal have been spending, have helped them win what???? Getting to finals isn’t an achievement.

    Anyway Arsenal fans can have Ramsey, we’ve got Davide Petrucci now. And most of you will find out that the main reason why United fans are shocked that he chose Arsenal over us, was because sky sports and every other news source made it seem like he was coming here since he said Giggs is his idol and United his childhood team.

  32. 7even says:

    I think they got Ramsey and we got Petrucci. I think we trumped the bigger star. Although only time will tell.


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