Arsenal have been slammed for their “staggering”, “astonishing” decision to let Aaron Ramsey leave for free in the summer.
Ramsey’s contract with Arsenal expires at the end of the season and negotiations broke down over an extension last year.
As a result, the Welshman will leave north London after 11 years with the club, with Juventus at the front of a long queue to sign him.
Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has slammed the Gunners for leaving Unai Emery ‘with his hands tied’ over Ramsey.
‘If Arsenal are admitting they are only able to sign loan players, then it is staggering that they are happy to let one of their prize assets leave for nothing.
‘Juventus looks the most likely destination for Aaron Ramsey when his contract runs out at the end of the season. The Italian champions must be rubbing their hands together.
‘All day on Thursday, sports channels were showing Ramsey’s highlights reel. This is a player who has scored some magnificent goals.
‘In October he rounded off a flowing team move against Fulham which had fans singing: “We’ve got our Arsenal back.”
‘Ramsey has conducted himself with great dignity this season but it is astonishing that Arsenal, a powerhouse in the English game, could not put together a package to keep him.
‘The team are still formidable going forward. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette are good enough to grace any team in the Premier League’s top six.
‘But the £100million spent to sign those players last season and hefty wages given to other star players has led to this situation.
‘Unai Emery must look at his back line – where they are short at centre half – and wish he could bring in reinforcements. After all, Arsenal are only three points off the top four.’
‘Emery is finding that decisions made before he arrived have left him with his hands tied.’