Amy Lawrence on 12 July 2018
Unai Emery has been working intensively with his new players at Arsenal for two weeks and has been impressed enough with Aaron Ramsey to tell the powers-that-be that the Welshman is firmly in his plans.
Ramsey is into the last year of his contract and Arsenal are keen to avoid the problems they had last season with Alexis Sánchez in the same position. The Chilean was distracted in the first half of the campaign before being sold to Manchester United.
“I am very happy with him,” Emery said of Ramsey. “Every training is with the ambition I want, working with quality and the competitive spirit I want. I want to work with him. His future is a question for the player and club. I said to Ivan, Raúl and Sven [Gazidis, Sanllehí and Mislintat, the collective dealing with contracts and transfers] he’s an important player for me.”
Emery has been reworking his midfield, with a Uruguayan who impressed at the World Cup, Lucas Torreira, and the young Frenchman Matteo Guendouzi recruited this week. These changes prompted the departure of Jack Wilshere for West Ham; Emery said the pair had an honest conversation before a decision he described as “tactical and technical”.
Emery said: “It was a very good conversation very directly together. I explained to him my opinion and how I wanted to create the team and could not be sure to say to him he is going to play into the XI. He explained to me the decision is not easy for him but he wanted to chose the best option for him. I know this player is important for the supporters and grew up here in Arsenal but I don’t give him one position in the starting XI and for that he choose to leave. I respect also this.”
Arsenal have been busy in the transfer window, recruiting a goalkeeper and two experienced defenders as well as the midfield pair. Emery remains open-minded about adding to that list if “a big opportunity” comes up. “Normally, in my career the big clubs don’t close the door or the moment to sign a new player. Today, we are OK.
“The club has done a great job of signing new players and I am happy. We signed the players who we needed. At the moment I think the squad is complete. We will only sign a player in the next month if he’s a big opportunity.”
Once Emery has met all his players, including those back from the World Cup after a holiday, he will make his final choices on who stays and departs to reduce the size of the squad. He also plans to sort out the captaincy, bearing in mind the club captain Laurent Koscielny is injured. “Koscielny is the first captain now; then we are looking for the player whose personality is the best in the dressing room to keep respect of the players. I will choose the best player for that.”