"Oh, history writer, don't close the pages yet!"
- May 17, 2007
Arsenal star Aaron Ramsey at centre of Liverpool and Manchester United transfer fightEXCLUSIVE
Liverpool and Manchester United are weighing up a cut-price January move for Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey.
Talks between the Gunners and the 27-year-old Welshman broke down last month after the club withdrew a contract offer which had been on the table for several months.
Ramsey, whose deal expires at the end of the season, is free to negotiate with overseas teams from January 1.
AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus are among several sides monitoring the situation, but Ramsey is thought to prefer staying in England, with his family settled in London and his wife shortly due to give birth to twins.
Liverpool and United have a long-standing interest in Ramsey — the latter tried to sign him when he left Cardiff for Emirates Stadium in 2008 — and Standard Sport understands senior figures at Arsenal believe there is a strong possibility at least one of the clubs will try to take advantage of the contract impasse.
Liverpool are the most likely candidates, given Jurgen Klopp is a keen admirer of Ramsey and wants to strengthen his midfield after missing out on Nabil Fekir from Lyon.
The Fekir deal collapsed in the summer and it would cost in excess of £50million to revive, but Ramsey is likely to be available for less than half that figure, given he currently has just six months left to run on his contract.
Arsenal have drawn criticism for selling to direct rivals in the past, but Unai Emery is keen to raise funds to continue rebuilding his squad and so the chance to recoup some money for Ramsey would appeal as he looks at alternatives, which include Atlanta United midfielder Miguel Almiron and Porto captain Hector Herrera.
Liverpool head into the international break in third place in the Premier League on goal difference, but there are concerns over whether their squad is strong enough to replicate Klopp’s high-intensity style in the Champions League, while maintaining a title bid.
Ramsey consistently registers high numbers for distance covered and sprints in matches. He also appears to have put a chequered fitness record behind him, having responded well to Emery’s tougher training regime, which has involved double sessions and increased gym work.
Klopp already has a variety of midfield options and it is unclear whether Ramsey would be willing to join a club where he was merely a squad player. However, an increase on the Wales international’s £110,000-a-week wage would not be an issue at Anfield or Old Trafford.
United signed Fred from Shakhtar Donetsk for £52m in the summer but have struggled badly for creativity in a difficult campaign under Jose Mourinho. Ongoing uncertainty over Mourinho’s future would make United a less appealing option, but their vast financial resources enable them to make Ramsey a lucrative offer.