Do Juventus need Aaron Ramsey?
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It seems like with every transfer window, a blockbuster bargain for Juventus follows. They are not called the Old Lady for nothing. In an era where shopping is something of a gamble, the Turin giants have been shrewd. Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey could be the next jackpot. Or perhaps the beginning of a risky dice throw gone wrong.
Arsenal has an affinity for losing players on a free. Last season, the Gunners managed to swap Alexis Sanchez for Henrikh Mkhitaryan rather than lose the former for nothing. They mulled Mesut Ozil into signing a new deal. Ramsey is next. Danny Welbeck could follow.
In stark contrast, however, Juve has a penchant for adding players for zilch. Since returning to the Serie A in 2007, the Old Lady sneaked some exceptional freebies through Turin's back door. Fabio Cannavaro. Andrea Pirlo. Paul Pogba. Kingsley Coman. Sami Khedira. Dani Alves. The list seems endless.
The conundrum is some Bosman signings aren't required and don't meet an actual need at a particular time. They are born out of circumstance and desperation. Ramsey reportedly accepted the serial Italian champions' offer and could be classified as an impulse buy. He may just be a marketing strategy by Bianconerri, aiming to penetrate the British market.
The Welshman is a proven talent and a loyal Gooner since joining from Cardiff in 2008. From his tireless work as a box-to-box midfielder to the spectacular goals and assists that created everlasting memories, he has been a joy to behold. A modern-day midfielder, he is cool in possession, capable of making the difference on offence and adjusting defensively.
Over his time at the Emirates, Ramsey posted strong figures through high-quality passing and goal involvement. The Welshman averages 58 passes per game and more than two shots on target every match. In a little over 250 appearances, the 28-year-old netted on 38 occasions. Despite very little game time this term, he has weighed in with two goals and six assists.
His is the sort of creativity and genuine goal threat every team craves. Massimiliano Allegri would definitely relish an additional goal threat through the middle. Blaise Matuidi, Miralem Pjanic, Rodrigo Bentancur, Emre Can and Sami Khedira notched a mere six Serie A goals this term in 68 combined league appearances.
A tactically efficient manager who prefers balance over allurement, Ramsey not be ideal for Allegri's methods. The Italian typically rotates his five central midfielders in a 4-3-3 formation. Ramsey possesses the innate, requisite skill set of a defensive midfielder: tough, calm and aggressive. He was deployed in that role during the early stages of his career. In 2013/14 season, for instance, he garnered the most tackles out of any central midfielder in the Premier League (57).
The only slot for which he can compete is the right. Allegri's architect Pjanic owns the middle, where he utilises his shrewd, quick passing. All-rounder Matuidi is usually to the Bosnian's left. Uruguayan prospect Rodrigo Bentancur or Sami Khedira complete the triumvirate. Bentancur has done a fine job this season after injuries to others gave him an extended first-team chance. His added defensive strength gives him an edge.
Ramsey was often played in the attack at Arsenal. Under Arsene Wenger, he was deployed on either flank and sometimes behind the striker. That's a dead zone in Turin. Juve's front-three all but picks itself with Cristiano Ronaldo, Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala. He may find himself jostling for an impact sub role alongside Juan Cuadrado, Douglas Costa and Federico Bernardeschi. He's already doing that in London without the added expense of moving house.