The links between Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey and a summer move to La Liga club Barcelona are growing stronger, as the Spanish giants will reportedly make him a top transfer target in the summer.
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Arsenal Won't Block Ramsey's Barca Move
Saturday, Jan. 16
John Richardson of the Sunday Express reported Arsenal won't stand in Ramsey's way when Barca come calling in the summer. In an exclusive, Richardson stated the Catalans have made dynamic midfielder Ramsey "one of their prime transfer targets for the summer."
Richardson also suggested Gunners boss Arsene Wenger turned down an approach from Barcelona last summer. But the Frenchman will apparently relent if presented with a new bid: "But I understand from sources close to Ramsey that the Gunners won’t deny the player the opportunity of joining the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar at Barcelona next season."
The idea of Wenger letting Ramsey leave seems fanciful. Arsenal's manager has patiently developed the 25-year-old Welshman since signing him from Cardiff City in 2008.
Wenger's reward has been seeing Ramsey mature into a free-scoring playmaker who is a genuine match-winner for the Gunners. Ramsey's best season came in the 2013/14 campaign, when he netted 16 times.
This season, he's scored five goals in Premier League and FA Cup action, according to WhoScored.com. He's shown considerable improvement since moving back into the middle. Wenger had deployed Ramsey wide, but injuries to Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin have given him a chance to play his natural position again.
Should the Gunners fight to keep Ramsey from Barca?
Ramsey is at his best when he can make late runs from deep. He's more direct than the type of midfielder Barcelona have been used to, although he possesses the technical qualities to thrive in manager Luis Enrique's team.
Back in the summer, Ramsey responded to mooted Barca interest by calling it "very flattering," per Stuart James of the Guardian.
It seems clear last season's treble winners are keen, but it's hard to imagine Wenger and Arsenal not putting up a fight to retain one of their brightest stars.