Born less than eight miles from the Welsh capital and having represented The Bluebirds for two seasons before Arsenal paid £5 million for his signature in 2008, Ramsey’s stock at Emirates Stadium was thought to have fallen to the point that, as the Mirror reported on April 20, Cardiff owner Vincent Tan assumed he could bring him back to South Wales.
If you'd taken Aaron Ramsey to one side in July and asked him to picture his dream season, even he wouldn't have dared to imagine this.— Tom Williams (@tomwfootball) November 2, 2013
Unfortunately for the promoted outfit, their proposal fell on deaf ears, and fortunately for Arsenal, Arsene Wenger kept faith in the 22-year-old.
The Welshman made his presence felt almost immediately on the new season, Ramsey set up Olivier Giroud’s opener as the North London outfit beat Fulham 3-1 at Craven Cottage on Aug. 24, and three days after that, he scored both goals in his side’s 2-0 Champions League defeat of Fenerbahce.
He hasn’t stopped producing since, and following Saturday’s 2-0 win at home to Liverpool that extended Arsenal’s lead atop the Premier League to five points, he has bagged 10 goals in all competitions and contributed five assists.
“I’m feeling a lot more confident in front of goal and that is up there with the best I’ve scored,” he told Sky Sports after the victory, in which he notched the insurance-marker. “It was very important this year to get off to a good start.”
Both for him and his club.
While Mesut Ozil—acquired for a club-record fee on transfer deadline day—has been credited with much of Arsenal’s early success this season, it has been Ramsey’s work in the centre of the park that has most impacted his side’s climb to the top of the table.
In addition to his offense numbers, the Welshman has also posted some eye-catching statistics on the defensive side of the ball.
Through 10 Premier League matches he has successfully executed 13 interceptions, and against Liverpool he won an impressive six tackles—second only to teammate Mikel Arteta (Statistics courtesy Squawka and WhoScored).
“[Ramsey] has a fantastic engine, he has a good build and good technique.”
And he has never given up on the midfielder—not after a horrific, double-leg-break in 2010; not after the prolonged fitness battle and disappointing performances that put him back on Cardiff’s radar during the spring.
Five years after the fact, Ramsey has become exactly the player Wenger knew he was buying at the time.
And while he may be riding a wave of goodwill following the Ozil coup, his faith in Ramsey—which is paying off in spades—is the true feather in his cap.