Arsenal coach Unai Emery remains confident Aaron Ramsey will stay at the club and hinted the Welshman could be one of his five captains for next season. Ramsey wore the armband for Arsenal in their preseason friendly against Atletico Madrid on Thursday before being taken off 60 minutes into the 1-1 draw, with the Gunners then losing on penalties.
The midfielder said on Wednesday that he had yet to reach an agreement with the club on a new contract, but Emery sounded optimistic that a breakthrough will be made. “I think Aaron is an important player for us,” Emery said during his post-game news conference. “The contract is one thing for the club and then one thing for the player. “I want him to stay with us, to work with us, to give the team big performances with his quality. I think he’s going to stay here with us.”
And while Ramsey was his captain on Thursday, Emery insisted that no decision has been made yet about who will take over from Per Mertesacker permanently this season.
“This is not yet official, this decision,” Emery said. “I said to you I want five captains in the team, then the numbers we are going to give to them, the first, the second, third, four and five. But Aaron has the condition to be one of the captains.”
Emery was also full of praise for Emile Smith Rowe, the 17-year-old midfielder who equalised for Arsenal with a spectacular strike into the top corner in the second half after a solo run.
Smith Rowe, who turns 18 on Saturday, was playing in his first Arsenal game against top-level opposition and has clearly caught Emery’s eye during preseason training.
“I think this is the moment for the young players to show quality like Emile did,” Emery said. “Historically, Arsenal has worked with young players to give them the chance to work with the first team, for them to show their quality in each match.
“He is 17 years old but he has grown up in the academy and we need to give the young players the opportunity to work with us every day and play matches like today. They are working hard in training to be involved with the first team.
“Today I am very happy with his work on the pitch, but not only today. It’s every day. He’s starting today’s match because his performances have been good in every training session.”
Emery was also asked about Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis for a second day in a row, amid reports that he could be close to leaving for AC Milan. Emery said he speaks every day to Gazidis, who is in Singapore for the tour, but that he doesn’t know what his plans are for the future.
“Every day we are having meetings together and speaking about the Arsenal project,” Emery said. “We always speak about how we can improve, how we can work together to give the club all the quality we can.
“When I arrived here, the first meeting was with Ivan. For me, he’s a very good person, a very good professional and he has a lot of experience in the football world. I don’t know what he’s going to do because I only speak with him about the Arsenal project.”
Aaron Ramsey is a Welsh professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Premier League club Arsenal and the Wales national team. Ramsey mainly plays as a box-to-box midfielder, but has also been deployed on the left and right wings. He played as a schoolboy for Cardiff City, where he spent eight years in youth football, became the club’s youngest ever first team player, and made 22 appearances for the senior team – including the 2008 FA Cup Final.