In Summary
  • A number of Europe's leading clubs appear to share the Welsh outlook, as Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Paris St-Germain and Inter Milan had all shown an interest in the midfielder, whose contract at Emirates Stadium expires in the summer.

Aaron Ramsey is a footballer who divides opinion like few others.

Revered by Wales fans but regarded as an unfulfilled talent by some Arsenal supporters, with Ramsey the truth usually sits somewhere in between the polarising views.

A number of Europe's leading clubs appear to share the Welsh outlook, as Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Paris St-Germain and Inter Milan had all shown an interest in the midfielder, whose contract at Emirates Stadium expires in the summer.

But it is Italian giants Juventus who have won the battle to sign the 28-year-old - with the help of a contract worth £400,000 a week (Sh51 million) - and Ramsey now stands on the cusp of his career's defining moment.

So why would Arsenal allow such a coveted player to leave for free?

And why has Ramsey, who has been in and out of the Gunners' side this season, attracted interest from some of the biggest clubs in the world?

Underappreciated in London, loved in Wales?

By most players' standards, Ramsey has enjoyed an excellent career at Arsenal since joining from Cardiff City as a 17-year-old in 2008.

Yet despite scoring 61 goals in 359 games - including the winners in the 2014 and 2017 FA Cup finals - there is a sense that the Welshman has never truly won over certain factions of the Arsenal support.

That may be borne out of frustration, a feeling that Ramsey has not consistently scaled the heights which saw him named in the Euro 2016 team of the tournament after playing a stellar role in Wales' run to the semi-finals.

So, has he been fully appreciated at Arsenal?

"Maybe not," former Arsenal striker Ian Wright told BBC Radio 5 live.

"He's one of those players who no matter how poorly Arsenal were playing he never hid, always showed for the ball.

"He got loads of stick but continually tried to play and in the way he wants to play football. We are losing a great player and it's a shame."

Ramsey has not been at his sparkling best this season, though that is largely due to a lack of game-time caused by his contract dispute with Arsenal and subsequent inability to secure a regular starting place in the team.

Even before this season's doubts about his future, however, Ramsey has been criticised by Arsenal fans at matches and on social media.

"They've never fully taken to Rambo - there's always been a section of fans," says Ramsey's former Wales team-mate Danny Gabbidon.

Gabbidon's view is representative of many in Wales, who have taken umbrage at the criticism Ramsey has faced at Arsenal, be that from fan websites or celebrity supporters.

His detractors may point to a lack of consistency - he is as likely to dominate and transform a game as he is to pass through 90 minutes almost unnoticed.

There are times when he has been anonymous for Wales but his supporters there hold a more sympathetic view, that a fluctuation in form is a hazard of the job for a playmaker.

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