EXCLUSIVE: Arsenal should make Aaron Ramsey a future captain instead of allowing him to leave on a free transfer says Jack Wilshere
PUBLISHED: 01:00 18 October 2018 | UPDATED: 01:05 18 October 2018
PA Wire/PA Images
Jack Wilshere has called on Arsenal to make Aaron Ramsey captain of the club rather than allow the Welsh international to leave on a free transfer.
Wilshere, a former Gunners midfielder, is still held in high esteem by fans after spending 17 years in North London, and believes the club should be doing all they can to keep the former Cardiff City player.
Ramsey looks certain to leave Arsenal after his agency appeared to confirm his impending departure in a series of deleted tweets earlier this month.
The Avid Sports and Entertainment Group which represents Ramsey said the Welsh midfielder wanted to remain at Arsenal - but the Gunners withdrew the offer of a contract extension.
Ramsey had looked set to put pen to paper on a new four-year deal at the Emirates after months of contract talks before it was revealed Arsenal changed their mind.
However, Wilshere - who is now at West Ham following his departure from Arsenal after new head coach Unai Emery told him he could not guarantee a first team berth after a special summer summit - is adamant Arsenal should build their side around three-time FA Cup winner instead of releasing him.
Speaking exclusively to the Islington Gazette at his home in Hertfordshire, Wilshere said: “He’s grown up to be a great player with Arsenal. They could do with someone like him. We know what he can do for the club.
“For me he’s a future Arsenal captain. I know he loves the club. It’s difficult for me to comment on because I’m not there but I do know he’s a great player – if it was me I know I would want to keep him around.
“He’s a great guy to have around. He’s been at the club so long and knows it inside out. If you look at what he’s done for the club too.
“We went into the first team in the same year. He came from Cardiff and I came from the youth team. We automatically clicked because we were both young and new to that sort of environment.”
Ramsey did take over the captain’s armband during the Gunners 2-0 Premier League win over Watford last month but is able to leave the club next summer.
It is understood that a deal up to 2022 was on the table prior to former CEO Ivan Gazidis leaving for AC Milan last month, but Arsenal pulled out before a final contract was drawn up.
Ramsey’s existing contract expires on June, 30, 2019 meaning the Caerphilly-born 27-year-old will become a free agent next summer - unless Emery decides to cash in and sell him when the transfer window opens in January.
The Welshman will also have the option of signing a pre-contract agreement with a continental giant from 1 January.
Ramsey joined the Gunners 11 years ago in a £4.8m move from hometown club Cardiff and is their longest-serving player, scoring the winning goals in the 2014 and 2017 FA Cup finals.
Welsh star Ramsey is not short of a list of potential domestic and continental suitors with Chelsea, Juventus, AC Milan, Lazio, Manchester United and Real Madrid all thought to have shown varying degrees of interest in his signature.
Wilshere, who is set to launch his own soccer school later this month, is unsurprised his friend is in great demand.
He added: “I think you’ve got to look at the situation and ask: ‘How many top teams in the Premier League and elsewhere could he get in?’
“And you’d have to say them all - and that speaks volumes about the type of player he is.”
There has been a fear among Arsenal fans that there could be a reverse Sol Campbell-style transfer in which the Welshman could cross the ‘great divide’ in North London to bitter rivals Spurs.
Wilshere insists that doomsday scenario should not be allowed to happen, saying: “It wouldn’t have happened with me. I’m not sure they’d [Spurs] have had me anyway.”
The Jack Wilshere Soccer School runs in Letchworth on Tuesday, October 30, Wednesday, October 31 and Thursday, November 1. Courses are available for boys and girls aged four to 15. Everyone attending will be given a trophy and a signed photograph of Jack.
Across the three days youngsters will also have the chance to meet Jack and receive expert coaching from him and coaches provided by soccer school associate Paul Deller and his ‘Grassroots Soccer’ organisation.
To book visit www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/jack-wilshere-and-grassroots-soccer-school-tickets-48987092713.
Follow Layth on Twitter @laythy29