Arsenal’s “stupidity” in allowing Aaron Ramsey’s contract to expire has been slammed by Paul Merson, with the former Gunners star suggesting that Arsene Wenger neglected all deals apart from his own.
Having previously seen Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere run their respective terms down, those at Emirates Stadium find themselves facing more uncomfortable questions regarding an apparent lack of planning.
Ramsey is destined to depart the club this summer, with leading sides from across Europe – headed by Serie A champions Juventus – scrambling frantically to position themselves at the front of the queue for a much sought-after signature.
Merson is baffled as to why Arsenal have not worked as hard to get an extension put in place, with the failings of a former boss being exposed as well as those supposedly in charge of building for the future and assembling a competitive squad.
The former Gunners star told Sky Sports: “It's stupidity from Arsenal to allow someone of Ramsey's quality to let their contract run down.
“It's yet another player after Alexis Sanchez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott. Players' contracts come to an end then they all leave on frees.
“In footballing terms, it's criminal. It's like buying an £80m house, waiting for the leasehold to run out and losing the house.
“Arsene Wenger sorted out his contract every year but seemed to forget everyone else's!
“I wouldn't mind if all these players were 35 years of age or older, but they are in the prime of their careers when they are playing their best football ever.”
Merson fears that Arsenal will now struggle to fill another self-inflicted void in their squad, with Unai Emery having already admitted that he has no money to spend in January and will be forced into the loan market – with Goal revealing that Barcelona midfielder Denis Suarez is a top target.
“Arsenal had a player in Ramsey that was proven," added Merson.
“Now they've got to go and get someone that probably hasn't played in the Premier League and will need time to adjust. It's poor.
“Arsenal can replace him but it's going to cost £40m-£50m. That's where the stupidity comes into it.
“Sanchez went for nothing and when Mesut Ozil's contract ran down they have had to pay him an absolute fortune to keep him. It's ridiculous.”
Merson went on to say when asked if a Wales international can be a success at Juventus: “Ramsey can succeed in Italy, he's a good player. He's a midfield player that scores goals, he's got experience.
“You've only got to look at Callum Hudson-Odoi potentially going for £35m, while Ramsey is going for free. One has potential, the other is absolutely proven.”