Despite limping off the pitch with a hamstring tear on Sunday, James Milner’s stay at Liverpool must be characterised as a massive success. Now entering his fourth year with the club, the former Manchester City man has gone from strength to strength at Anfield, building on his work as a makeshift fullback in Jürgen Klopp’s first season, to become a crucial cog in the German manager’s midfield pressing machine.
Displaying a seemingly never-ending supply of energy — in spite of his advancing age — a propensity for picking a final pass, and proving a composed penalty taker, Milner has made his £120k wages look an absolute pittance, particularly considering the club picked the 32-year old up on a free transfer following his stay at the Etihad.
With such a bargain bin success story to inspire them, it only makes sense that the Reds will be perusing the catalog of players currently running down their contracts, both in the Premier League and abroad. Thus, links to Aaron Ramsey, another British perpetual motion machine plying his trade with a rival club, were always going to be likely.
Whether the Merseysiders are genuinely interested in Ramsey is yet to be confirmed from the club’s side, but former Reds attacker and current Welshman Craig Bellamy is adamant his compatriot will be moving on from the Gunners come June.
“I think they’ve lost him already – I think he’s gone,” the former Wales and Liverpool striker told Sky Sports. “Come January or the summer, he’ll be going somewhere else. Four or five years ago, every club wanted him – Manchester City, Barcelona. I think it’s time for him to move on.
“He’s become conscious of some players that have stayed too long at Arsenal and not got the best out of their ability.” Bellamy continued. “He’s a tremendous footballer that has had injuries. Unai Emery will be a good manager for him but he needs a change. He’ll have a better chance of going to those top-end clubs if he’s on a free transfer.”
All salient points from the neck-deficient striker — Ramsey is a genuine two-way player, in the mold favoured by Klopp — but the chief concern for any club considering the 27-year old is his lengthy injury record. On the one hand, and with the exception of the horrific broken leg suffered at the studs of Ryan Shawcross back in 2009, Ramsey’s injuries have largely been limited to muscular strains and pulls, the sort of troubles that keep a player out for four to six weeks at a time, and that the Reds have seemingly been able to find a solution for in the case of Daniel Sturridge.
Liverpool, however, likely stung by the devastating loss of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain this spring, have already cancelled a transfer due to health concerns this summer, and will not hesitate to walk away from a possible Ramsey deal either, should the club’s medical team be unconvinced of the player’s long-term injury prospects.
This story looks like an early contender for transfer saga of the season, so regardless of your feelings about Aaron Ramsey to Liverpool, be prepared to read a lot more about him in the coming months.