Having joined the Gunners as an emerging prospect from Cardiff back in 2008, Aaron Ramsey’s Arsenal career has been quite the rollercoaster.
But, the Welshman is nearing the end of his contract at the Emirates Stadium, with rumours of a move to Juventus on the horizon.
Joy and despair
The 28-year-old immediately caught the eye under then-Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. His eye for a pass, timely runs into the opposition box and outstanding engine saw him labelled the complete midfielder.
However, just as Ramsey began to establish himself as a mainstay in the Arsenal starting XI, he suffered a horrific leg break in a league match away to Stoke City in February 2010.
Following a return to fitness, subsequent loan spells at his former side Cardiff and later Nottingham Forest meant he was once again in contention for a regular role at parent club Arsenal.
Ramsey’s style of play had notably changed, his defensive output had diminished somewhat, but his efficiency in the final third had improved tenfold.
This was no more evident than in the 2013/14 season, where he bagged an impressive 16 goals from midfield - including the winner in the 2014 FA Cup final against Hull, ending the Gunners’ nine-year trophy drought.
Ramsey’s form that season lead to interest from European heavyweights Barcelona and Bayern Munich, and he was named Arsenal’s player of the season, despite missing three months of the campaign through injury.
Fast forward three years and Ramsey would once again be Arsenal’s FA Cup final hero, scoring the winning goal against Chelsea in 2017.
At this stage it was difficult to fathom Ramsey departing north London, his contributions at key moments and longevity meant he was generally regarded as a pivotal player in Arsenal’s squad.
Newly appointed Arsenal manager Unai Emery seemingly confirmed this in an interview when he arrived, stating that Ramsey was very much one of the players he wanted to build his team around.
End of the road?
After starting Arsenal’s first couple of league fixtures at the start of the 2018/19 campaign, news suddenly broke of Ramsey’s offer of a contract extension being withdrawn - immediately casting doubt over his future, as his existing deal only had a little under a year to run.
Ramsey has been a faithful servant to Arsenal. Making over 350 appearances, he is Arsenal’s highest ever goalscoring midfielder, overtaking ex-captain Cesc Fabregas.
Occasionally being a polarising figure, it is unanimously agreed amongst Arsenal supporters that allowing Ramsey to leave on a free transfer is poor business. Despite his tendency to neglect the defensive side of the game, Ramsey’s productivity from midfield has often been key to Arsenal’s fortunes.
As his exit looks increasingly likely, he will have certainly left behind a legacy many other Arsenal’s players were unable to, including cup final heroics and a truly memorable goal in the Champions League against Galatasaray toward the end of 2014.
Eyes will now turn toward potential replacements for Ramsey at Arsenal, with the new signing having considerable shoes to fill.