Aaron Ramsey will leave Arsenal this summer after 11 years with the club.The Welshman had a contract offer withdrawn by the Gunners earlier in the season but head coach Unai Emery will keep the Welshman until his contract expires at the end of the campaign.As revealed by Goal on Friday, Italian giants Juventus are close to signing the 28-year-old, who has made 352 appearances and scored 60 goals for the north London side since joining from Cardiff City in 2008. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ramsey’s time at Emirates Stadium has been fraught with highs and lows, but his ability to deliver in big games means he will always have a place in Arsenal history.Two FA Cup-winning goals, against Hull and Chelsea respectively, helped end a barren spell for the Gunners and it is those happy memories which many supporters are holding onto as his contract runs down over the next few months.But why are Arsenal prepared to lose Ramsey for free this summer instead of receiving a transfer fee for him this month? The answer lies in the club’s surprising dearth of options in the final third.While they do boast the likes of Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and summer signing Lucas Torreira in midfield, there is no single player like Ramsey in the squad.His box-to-box qualities, and ability to create chances and stretch play, make him a unique proposition for opposition defences – and it’s been no surprise to see him repeatedly making a big impact coming off the bench in recent games.Ramsey has three assists in 524 minutes this season, behind only Hector Bellerin (four) and level with Mesut Ozil. He’s also created 12 scoring opportunities so far, the second highest in the team, after Ozil.It’s evident that his contributions are worthy of a new contract extension, but Arsenal’s decision to withdraw their offer for a mixture of football and financial reasons is a sign of the change of priorities under the new hierarchy led Raul Sanllehi and Vinai Venkatesham.Both have previously explained that Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke will support a self-sustaining business model, while it is unknown how far the club’s transfer budget can be stretched in January and beyond anyway.The need for a new defender is clear and new additions will almost certainly be looked at by Emery, a coach who is still getting to grips with his squad, working out his best system and shifting players out who he believes don’t fit with his footballing philosophy – such as Ramsey.Arsenal have one of the highest wage bills in the Premier League and Goal understands that there is a clear aim to reduce it during the coming seasons, while at the same time securing a return to the Champions League next season – a requirement which is imperative if Arsenal are able to challenge on any front financially.Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere and Lucas Perez all left the Emirates last summer but the signings of Bernd Leno, Sokratis, Matteo Guendouzi, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Torreira have all added to the club’s wage bill.When contract extensions for the likes of Granit Xhaka, Alex Iwobi, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Calum Chambers are factored into the equation, the need to cut costs is clear.Arsenal are, thus, looking at bringing in a fresh, young group of hungry players rather than meeting the demands of senior players requesting £200,000-a-week, as was the case with Ramsey.Teenage talents such as Emile Smith Rowe and Joe Willock are both highly rated by Emery and his coaching staff, which only further justifies the decision to withdraw a contract offer for Ramsey and put faith in players who could realistically be ready for regular first-team football within the next couple of seasons.Ramsey will almost certainly be a success at Juventus. He has the technical ability, professionalism and work ethic to succeed in Italy, and is now entering the peak years of his career.However, as far as Arsenal are concerned, his summer departure makes as much sense for them as it does for the player.
ARLINGTON, TEXAS – DECEMBER 29: Justyn Ross #8 of the Clemson Tigers celebrates with teammates after scoring a 52-yard touchdown in the second quarter against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the College Football Playoff Semifinal Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic at AT&T Stadium on December 29, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)When Derion Kendrick arrived at Clemson, he was listed as an ‘athlete’ but the recruiting services. And he was an elite one at that.The former five-star player was ranked No. 26 overall in the class. He began his career at wide receiver, after excelling there in high school, but has switched sides.Kendrick is now at cornerback for the Tigers, and just a few weeks into the move he may very well lock up a starting job. Right now, the coaching staff says he’d be penciled in there.Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables said as much when asked about Derion Kendrick recently.From The Charlotte Observer:“If you said name the starters today, you’re picking two, he’s one of those two starters today,” Venables said. “When that decision was made, really he’s just taken off. Very natural, got great instincts, very tough, competitive, incredible transitional movement… He’s still learning a lot of the nuances and intricacies of what we do. But it comes very easy to him.”Cornerback A.J. Terrell returns as one of the team’s starters from last year’s national championship-winning Tigers club.Kendrick is vying for the other job, along with Kyler McMichael, Mario Goodrich and LeAnthony Williams. As of today, he has the upper hand.While many guys might prefer playing offense, Kendrick doesn’t seem to mind the switch, even after a solid 15 catch, 210 yard season as a freshman:“I’m going to go hard at whatever I do… I don’t really have a preference. As long as I’m on the field it doesn’t really matter,” Kendrick said. “The biggest thing to learn is just the basics of the whole defense, that’s it. I really knew everything about corner and stuff from high school, so it really comes natural.”If he continues to develop there, Clemson is going to be even more dangerous than we may have already assumed. Surprise, surprise.[The Charlotte Observer]
The Canadian Press Thursday’s GamesNHLEdmonton 3 Los Angeles 2Vegas 4 Vancouver 3Winnipeg 6 Chicago 5Ottawa 3 N.Y. Rangers 0Columbus 4 Minnesota 2Tampa Bay 5 Buffalo 4Boston 2 N.Y. Islanders 1 (SO)Arizona 3 Nashville 0—AHLOntario 3 Bakersfield 2—NBAToronto 131 Golden State 128 (OT)L.A. Lakers 104 Indiana 96L.A. Clippers 133 Sacramento 121—NFLDallas 13 New Orleans 10—