How Aaron Ramsey compares to players he could replace at Juventus
Over the years, the Welshman has scored 61 goals in 354 appearances for the Gunners, including in two separate FA Cup finals, forging a reputation as a goalscoring midfielder with his late runs into the box.
However, in Maximiliano Allegri, Ramsey is moving to play under a manager who has made use of three different systems during his time with the Old Lady: the 3-5-2 that was in place when he took over from Antonio Conte, the 4-2-3-1 he has used in the past few seasons and, now, the 4-3-3 that allows Juve to get the best out of Cristiano Ronaldo.
This suits Ramsey down to the ground, as the 28-year-old is incredibly flexible himself, having featured as a number 10 extensively for Wales, as well as excelling in a box-to-box role at Arsenal over the years.
But this also means he could find himself competing with pretty much every midfielder currently on Juve’s playing staff. So, how does this incredibly adaptable midfielder compare with his future teammates? Read on to find out.
1. Technical ability
Miralem Pjanic is Juve’s main midfield pivot and their undoubted pass master. The Bosnian has posted a very impressive average of 67.5 passes per game in Serie A this season with a success rate of 92%.
If he wanted to become the first passing option from the defence, Ramsey would be hard-pressed to replace Pjanic, considering he has only averaged 23.7 passes per game in the Premier League this term, with a success rate of just 80.8%.
The ‘regista’ role, however, is not Ramsey’s speciality, and so the Welshman may serve as a much more mobile replacement to Sami Khedira who, in the past, has been utilised as the box-to-box player in Juve’s midfield. The Germany international has really dropped off this season, however, and has managed just six Serie A appearances due to injury. In the games he has played, Khedira has averaged 35 passes per game with a success rate of 86.2%
2. Defensive ability
To compliment Pjanic’s passing ability and provide more industry to the Juventus midfield, Allegri often rotates between Emre Can, Blaise Matuidi and Rodrigo Bentancur.
Can, another free signing himself, has struggled to adapt to life in Turin, not helped by a thyroid operation last winter, and has averaged just 1.6 tackles per game this season – the lowest of the aforementioned midfielders.
Ramsey’s main rival in this position would be Bentacur, who has averaged a very impressive 2.2 tackles per game and 1.5 interceptions, compared to one tackle per game and just 0.3 interceptions per game from the former Cardiff man this term.
Matuidi is just behind Bentancur in the tackling department with an average of 2.1 per game, while the Frenchman has made 0.4 blocks per game this season. Matuidi is a brilliant all-rounder, though; perfectly showcased in the way he helped unlock Paul Pogba at the World Cup with his role in France’s lopsided midfield.
3. End product
This is where Ramsey really comes into his own. In the Premier League alone this season, the Welshman has provided six assists – more than all of Juventus’ central midfielders combined in Serie A this term.
Bentancur and the versatile Matuidi are both level with Ramsey in terms of league goals (2) this season, although the Wales international has sustained his goalscoring form brilliantly across the majority of his Arsenal career.
Whenever Allegri favours a 4-2-3-1 system, Paulo Dybala is the man to fill the number 10 role. The Argentine’s form in the Champions League this season has been unbelievable, bagging five goals in four starts, contributing to a total of seven goals for Juve in all competitions this season.
When deployed as a No.10, however, the 25-year-old has only managed one goal and one assist in five starts this term and is far more effective playing as a forward in a 4-3-3, potentially opening up an ideal role for Ramsey should Allegri switch system again.
Although he often relies more on his late runs into the box for his effectiveness, Ramsey is a very adept ball-carrier and has completed 12 dribbles so far this season.
This is only bettered by Dybala (31) who gets a lot more one-on-one opportunities against opposition defenders by virtue of his role in Allegri’s side, and Emre Can (13), who often prefers charging through midfield with the ball rather than getting involved in passing triangles.
As a result of his tendency to leave his runs until the last second and evade markers, most of Ramsey’s efforts on goal come from inside the penalty area – the Welshman has only registered eight shots from outside the box this season, compared to 20, 12, and 11 from Dybala, Pjanic and Bentancur respectively.
Pjanic is unquestionably Juve’s deep-lying playmaker and one of the best players in Europe in that particular role, while the likes of Rodrigo Bentancur and Blaise Matuidi are far more effective defenders than Ramsey, and allow Pjanic the room in which to operate.
However, with Khedira fading through injury and Emre Can struggling to fulfil his potential, the Old Lady seriously lack a box-to-box midfielder who can arrive late in the opponent’s penalty area while also possessing the discipline to drop back and protect when necessary. This opens up a big opportunity for Ramsey to cement his place in Allegri’s starting XI, while Dybala’s incredible output when played across the forward line means a spot at number 10 could present itself for the 28-year-old, should the Italian switch back to a 4-2-3-1.