At the start of 2022, Aaron Ramsey looked like a genuine transfer target for Newcastle United. By the end of 2022, the Welshman is seriously struggling at the World Cup as his nation stare elimination directly in the face.
Wales have lost their second game in Group B, falling to a 2-0 defeat to Iran in what was a must-win game for Rob Page’s side.
Instead they did the exact opposite, and now need to beat England in their final game to have any hope of making it through to the knockout stages.
The Dragons were really poor against Iran. While the red card to Wayne Hennessey will steal the headlines, they didn’t do enough before that moment to earn victory.
Their big hitters fell well short of expectations, and that will serve as comfort for Newcastle, who were linked with Ramsey at the start of the year.
Newcastle were ‘hopeful’ of Aaron Ramsey deal
Back in January, Newcastle were looking for players to boost their survival bid. Eddie Howe needed reinforcements, with a plethora of players linked with moves to St James’ Park.
And one of those players was Ramsey. He was out of favour at Juventus, and in desperate need of a fresh start. He needed a club, and Newcastle needed more quality. It sounded like a match made in heaven.
The Times reported at the start of January that the Toon owners were hopeful of signing, as they prepared a loan bid with an option to buy.
The transfer window ended with Newcastle signing a midfielder, but not Ramsey. Instead, Bruno Guimaraes joined the club.
As for the former Arsenal man, he went to Rangers where he famously missed the decisive penalty in the Europa League final. He has since joined Nice in France, and is now at the World Cup with Wales. However, his performances show he is not the force he once was.
Ramsey’s rotten World Cup
The 31-year-old has started both of Wales’ games in Qatar, and struggled on both occasions. But he was particularly poor in the defeat to Iran.
Alongside Gareth Bale, Ramsey has been Wales’ talisman for so long. But he was anonymous on Friday morning.
He was once silky and smooth in possession, but now he is slow and ponderous. He did more bad than good, with a wayward pass almost costing his side when the scored was 0-0.
It is sad seeing how much he has dropped off in recent years. Back in the day, Ramsey was a top class midfielder. His box-to-box ability would have made him a great addition to Howe’s squad at St James’ Park.
But he is not that player anymore. There is simply no way he would thrive in Newcastle’s midfield. He doesn’t have the energy levels of Joe Willock, Sean Longstaff or Joelinton. He would not be able to play the pressing style that has taken the Magpies to third in the Premier League.
Less than 12 months ago, he would have been more than welcome on Tyneside. But it is clear that signing him would have been a major mistake.
Luckily the club saw sense, and looked elsewhere. Now we are seeing exactly why Newcastle were right not to sign him.