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Sign or be sold: Indulging Ramsey doesn't belong in this new Arsenal era

COMMENT: A new manager. New faces. A fresh attitude. There's a buzz about Arsenal. It's a new era. But something - better yet someone - is ignoring the script...

There's a hold-over from the old regime. One outwardly expressing an approach that belongs in the past. The enthusiasm and generosity being offered by Arsenal's players is being checked by one hold-out.

Just listen to the new additions Unai Emery has made since his appointment.

Stephan Lichtsteiner was quick to talk up the "leadership" he can offer the Gunners dressing room. Upon arrival, Sokratis Papastathopoulos went further, making himself instantly available to fellow Greek Dinos Mavropanos and any young player at London Colney. And even yesterday, Bernd Leno was talking about the thrill of working with his boyhood hero, Petr Cech.

Okay, okay, you'll hear the same up and down the country at this time of year. But this is Arsenal - post-Wenger. A new culture is sweeping through. Finally, Cech has some allies. Sokratis and Lichtsteiner aren't known for their selfie sticks. The dressing room is being reset. But there's still one hold-out...

This is where Ivan Gazidis really earns his money. Arsenal need to call his bluff. The days of Alexis Sanchez dragging things out. Making him and his contract a bigger story than any on-field result. That indulgence. It belongs in the past.

If Emery can close the door on Jack Wilshere, the same should apply to Aaron Ramsey. With less than a year to run on his deal. And now less than two weeks left before the market shuts. The decision needs to be made. Ramsey needs to be called out.

At pressers, a conviction from teammates about being part of this new era, has only been matched by hesitation on Ramsey's behalf. Players will offer enthusiastic predictions of what others can bring this new season, but when the conversation inevitably reaches the Ramsey subject, it's a vanity mission. 'We all want him to stay', they drum out. 'We all value him'. Etc, etc.

The indulgence. The coddling. It's the stuff of the Wenger era. The attitude is a drag. A dead weight. Everything about this preseason should be focused on Emery's fresh ideas. The hope, the expectation his new players bring. The runaway results like against PSG. It should be about a new era. Not one player. Not his contract. And not his ego. Ramsey shouldn't be allowed to make this preseason about him. That was tolerated under Arsene Wenger. Even accepted. But it can't be allowed to now fester in the Emery era.

The manager has done his bit. He's handed Ramsey the captain's armband twice in preseason. He's stated publicly - yes even the Spaniard is having to dance to Ramsey's tune - he wants the Welshman to stay. He's confident he will. But for all the great things happening in and around the club, the way the Ramsey situation is currently being handled just feels like something from a past life.

So Gazidis needs to be decisive. If it means selling Ramsey to Chelsea, so be it. Put the money towards an offer for Adrien Rabiot and reunite the Frenchman with his old PSG coach.

Yes, it's all so easy on paper. But look how far the club has moved from this time last year. Wenger, Sven Mislintat, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Emery. All seismic events these past 12 months. Momentum is with Gazidis - and with Arsenal. This is no time to fall back on past habits.

Management has changed. As has the front office. And from a summer ago, we've seen Jack follow Ox and Theo out the London Colney exit. It's a new era. A fresh attitude. And with a new culture.

Ramsey needs it spelt out: sign or be sold.

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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