Head of football Raul Sanllehi revealed why Arsenal had to go against offering Juventus-bound Aaron Ramsey a new contract.
On July 1, Ramsey’s existing deal at Arsenal will have expired and he will officially become a Juventus player. It’s rumoured he will earn a weekly wage of £400,000 as part of his four-year contract.
The 28-year-old was in Turin for Juventus’ final home of the game of the season against Atalanta last weekend, where they finally received the Serie A trophy for winning the league.
Ramsey is also set to receive the number eight jersey – which is the very same kit number he had at Arsenal.
But, to the utter disbelief of all Gunners supporters, the Welsh midfielder wasn’t offered an extension on his expiring deal at the Emirates Stadium.
And now director Sanllehi has explained that Arsenal simply couldn’t match the lucrative offers Ramsey received from other clubs.
Therefore, the London club opted to not offer improved terms to Ramsey as it would have been “very harmful” to the squad’s dynamic.
“One of the key things for me – and I’ve seen that happening in other clubs – one of the key things is to keep the rationality in the salary balance of the team,” Sanllehi told Arsenal.com.
“Because of our circumstances, because of not renewing Aaron on time, we were in a situation in which Aaron had incredible offers building up on the salary.
“He was really keen on staying with us, he was ready to make the effort but at the end of the whole process we had to be responsible for ourselves and protect the interests of Arsenal.
“We realised we were going to cause an imbalance that would have been very harmful for the team’s sake in the medium and longer term.”
Despite the loss of Ramsey, however, Sanllehi is confident over Arsenal’s prospects in the summer transfer window.
The Gunners’ case for convincing top-talent to sign for them will only improve if they defeat Chelsea next Wednesday in the Europa League final – which will secure them a return to the Champions League football next season.
“What I can tell you is that we have identified very clearly and unanimously with our head coach and technical people, we know what we want to prioritise and we’re very clear on what our priorities are,” said Sanllehi.
“We’re already in the market and we’re already talking with the people that can help us to cover those positions and I feel quite strong.
“It’s going well and the image that Arsenal has in the football world is very strong. I do believe that we have a very good plan to cover those positions to be much stronger next year to deliver the success that we’re all hoping for.
“We are a reference in the football world, so when Arsenal knocks on the door of players it’s a different knock than other clubs.
“Of course, the fact that we have not been in the Champions League for two years and we are in question marks now for the next year, that’s not helpful.
“But again, the image of Arsenal is strong enough to help us build a case about all the model we are bringing up, the new era that we are bringing up. It’s very exciting.”