Arsenal’s Head of Football Raul Sanllehi says that the decision to withdraw new deal offered to Aaron Ramsey was not taken lightly, but has once again admitted that the club need to improve when it comes to contract renewals.
In recent years, the Gunners have seen Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere and Alexis Sanchez all reach the final 12 months of their current deals, and only in the case of the former did the club bring in any money after he was sold to Liverpool for £40m.
Ozil renewed for a club record £350,000 a week; Sanchez went to Manchester United with Henrikh Mkhitaryan coming the other way; while Wilshere joined West Ham for free.
This season, as well as Ramsey, Danny Welbeck, Petr Cech and Nacho Monreal are all into the final months of their contracts, but it’s the Welshman’s situation that has dominated the headlines.
Speaking about the decision to retract a contract offer, the former Barcelona man said, “It is more of a gathering of strategies and what our ideas are.
What I can assure you is that any decision we take at the club of any kind, whether it concerns players or any other thing, it is very thoroughly thought through, analysed and discussed by different people.
“We are very responsible for every decision we take so we do not take these decisions lightly. We really try to analyse and decide the best thing for the club.
“That is our ultimate aim – to find what is best for the club.”
With Ramsey their hands might have been tied a little, and it does take two to tango over any new contract, but whichever way you dress it up, letting a player go for free who could have brought in tens of millions in a transfer fee last summer is not a great way to operate when you’re a club which is run in a famously self-sustaining way.
It’s why Sanllehi has once more reiterated the need for Arsenal to do better in that regard.
“The idea is not to go to the last year of contracts,” he said. “We are going to try to avoid that.
“It is no secret that the sooner you leave out the uncertainty of the length of the contract, the better. You should try to avoid always going into the last year of a contract for all reasons – from the club’s side and also for the player.
“We’ll try to get clarity earlier, yes. As a normal rule all clubs in the world try not to go into the last year of a contract.
“Then you have clarity over whether you want to sell, renew, send out on loan – all the options over that period.”