Name - Aaron Ramsey
D.O.B. – December 26th, 1990
Height – 178cm
Weight – 76kg
Position – Midfielder
When one looks at the achievements that Aaron Ramsey has recorded in his life so far, it is hard to not be impressed. As a school boy the Caerphilly born man was the Welsh 800m champion at 13, and was also offered the chance to sign for Rugby League giants St. Helens.
However, football was his first love, and after signing for Cardiff City at the tender age of 8, Ramsey was to make his first appearance for the Bluebirds first team in the final game of the 2006/07 season against Hull City, in the process breaking current Wales manager John Toshack’s record as the youngest ever debutant for the club at just 16 years and 124 days.
In the 2007/08 season Ramsey was to build on this remarkable start to his professional career, making his first start and scoring his only goal for the club in the F.A. Cup third round match against Chasetown F.C., as well as signing his first professional contract in December 2007. Cardiff’s incredible progress in this competition also saw Ramsey come on as a 61st minute substitute in their F.A. Cup final defeat to Portsmouth.
All in all Ramsey’s debut year in the Cardiff City first team saw the youngster make 22 appearances from both the centre and left side of midfield, in the process announcing himself to be the most promising young talent outside of the English top flight.
Ramsey has also had the honour of captaining the Welsh U-17 side and has made seven appearances for the U-21’s. In May 2008 he also received his first call up to the senior squad for the games against Iceland and Holland, thus following in the footsteps of Ryan Giggs and Gareth Bale by making it through to the national team at such an early age.
The outstanding talent that Ramsey has thus been able to demonstrate on both the international and domestic stages in the past 18 months saw Manchester United, Everton, and Arsenal all have £5m bids accepted by the Cardiff City board at the beginning of June, with the Gunners proving to be the most persuasive as on the 10th June it was announced that Ramsey had decided to join the North London club.
On the conclusion of the transfer chase that has seen several of the Premier League’s biggest clubs chase his signature, Ramsey commented that "It is an honour to be wanted by massive clubs like Arsenal, Manchester United and Everton."
"In the end I had to make the decision I felt was right for my future."
Furthermore, it would seem that the Gunners have purchased a player that is in possession of a steely determination to succeed, with this being shown by Ramsey’s comment that "Cardiff City gave me my start in professional football and I won't forget that. It doesn't seem that long ago when I first joined as a schoolboy.”
“I have come a fair way since then, but there is still a lot of hard work ahead."
That Arsenal could prove to be a fruitful breeding ground for the Welshman’s talent is beyond doubt, with Arsene Wenger’s tenure as the manager of the Gunners seeing such talents as Nicolas Anelka, Patrick Vieira, Cesc Fàbregas and now Theo Walcott given the necessary support and training to make the most of their sublime talents.
Ramsey will also find the Premiership first team opportunities that he craves available to him as the departure of Mathieu Flamini, and the rumoured exit of Alexander Hleb, opens up spaces in Arsenal’s squad that the Welshman should be able to fill due to his propensity to play in both central and wide midfield positions.
This desire to be thrown in to Premiership action straight away was also seen as a major reason why he turned down the advances of Manchester United as Sir Alex Ferguson wanted Ramsey to stay on loan at Cardiff City for the 2008/09 season.
Other Prospective Buyers
The name of Aaron Ramsey has been on the tongues of most Premiership scouts for many years. Indeed, at the age of 8 he was followed by Newcastle United before he joined the Cardiff City youth set up.
This interest has continued throughout the fledgling years of his football career, with an un-named London based Premiership club having a bid of £1m rejected by the Bluebirds a year ago, whilst Liverpool, Everton, Portsmouth, Arsenal, and Manchester United were regularly posting scouts at Cardiff games throughout last season.
The chase for Ramsey’s signature escalated once Cardiff’s unlikely F.A. Cup run ended, with first Manchester United, then Arsenal and Everton having bids of £5m grudgingly accepted by a Cardiff City board in need of selling their most valuable squad members to balance the club’s books.
The player was then given permission to go on a guided tour of the Manchester United training facilities by Gary Neville, but perhaps crucially not by either Sir Alex Ferguson or Carlos Queiroz, meet with Everton manager David Moyes, and to fly to Switzerland to have a face to face meeting with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.
This lack of contact with the Manchester United hierarchy has been rumoured to have proven crucial in Ramsey choosing North London over the North West of England, and led to a statement announcing that "Cardiff City were informed on Tuesday morning that Aaron Ramsey's preferred destination this summer is the Emirates Stadium with Arsenal.
"We will now continue the dialogue with the Gunners with a view to Aaron's move being completed. “
Look To The Future
It would seem that Ramsey has the talent to light up the Premiership for many years to come. His quick, nimble feet should lead to the Premiership’s central midfielders facing a future of chasing the Welshman’s shadow, whilst his incisive, creative passing should fit right in with the exciting technical game that is championed so vigorously by Arsene Wenger.
Whilst still only a very young man Ramsey also seems to be in possession of excellent levels of physical fitness. If this can be allied with an increase in physical strength and possibly a growth spurt to push his height to 6ft then Arsenal may find themselves in possession of an almost complete midfield player.
The varied nature of Ramsey’s game is also borne out by the comparisons that have been sent his way in regards to current players, with various sources citing his similarities to his favourite footballer Steven Gerrard, whilst his close dribbling skills and ability to pop up on the left flank of midfield have led to the inevitable comparisons with Wales and Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs.
If Ramsey can go on to win even a small percentage of the trophies that these two players have won in their career you can be assured that Arsenal will be more than happy with their £5m investment in the Welsh prodigy.
Did You Know?
Ramsey has been given the nickname of Marge Simpson by his Cardiff City team mate Steven Thompson because “his hair is a proper thatch - and his first car is a luminous, lime green Ford Fiesta with a black and white checkerboard roof. “