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Arsene Wenger says Aaron Ramsey always wanted to stay at Arsenal but has blamed outside ‘influences’ for his move to Juventus, while he has warned the midfielder he needs to be playing.
Ramsey was in the final year of his deal with Arsenal when the club’s hierarchy suddenly took fresh terms off the table, paving the way for the Welshman to sign a pre-contract agreement with Serie A champions Juve.
Wenger says he did everything to get Ramsey to stay and believes he was happy to remain at the Emirates until the contract U-turn took place.
Asked if he kept Ramsey at Arsenal as long as he could, Wenger told beIN SPORTS: ‘Yep. In the end I met him once, he wanted to stay at Arsenal.
‘They had an agreement and the club came back on that, from what I understood. I tried a long time to extend his contract but sometimes you have influences of agents as well.
‘Every case is different and you have to understand in decision makings always who is influential – or not – when you make transfers. What I know from him, he was keen to stay.’
Due to several injury problems and Juve’s surplus of talent in central midfield, Ramsey has only started three Serie A matches since moving to Turin.
He played 64 minutes on Wednesday night and got his second goal for the club as they beat Lokomotiv Moscow in the Champions League, though Wenger believes game time will be more important than silverware in his peak years.
Probed on whether Juve is a good fit for Ramsey, Wenger said bluntly: ‘If he plays. Like Ruud [Gullit] says, you have to win but as well when you’re 27 or 28, that’s your best years as a football player.
‘If you don’t play from 27-32 that’s difficult to swallow. You can be patient at 21,22,23, you’re in and out. Once you get to 27 you have to play.’