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  • By Alessandro Schiavone

Analysis: Arsenal would have won the Premier League with Sergio Ramos and should look to sign him

By Alessandro Schiavone in Strasbourg



SERGIO RAMOS showed Arsenal exactly what they missed to get the job done in the Premier League with his heroic display in Saturday’s title winning draw away to Strasbourg. 

 

Imperious at the back, the iconic 37-year-old’s presence was a kick in the teeth for 20-goal man Habib Diallo who was successfully marked out of the game by the ageless centre-back. 

 

Slipped in by Kylian Mbappe, World Cup winner Lionel Messi fired past Mats Selz before Kevin Gameiro converted the rebound to restore parity. 

 

But no damage was done as Ramos wrapped up his second French title in as many seasons. 

 

It’s inevitable to reflect on what could have been had he been an Arsenal player in those turbulent weeks when the world came tumbling down at the Emirates. 

As a reminder, the Gunners dropped FIFTEEN points and leaked 18 goals in William Saliba’s 11-match absence through a back injury as a lack of valid alternative was unquestionably one of the reasons for their undoing at the hands of heavyweights Manchester City. 

 

Nine points were turned into three from winning positions against Liverpool, Southampton and West Ham as their world began to turn upside down in April.


Yet would that triple disaster have struck with the decorated Ramos, who’s been there, seen and done it all before, leading their fragile Saliba-less backline? It’s possible but unlikely… as he is exactly what they craved to see those leads out and get their hands on the Premier League trophy.

 

In Alsace on Saturday evening, the out-of-contract elite centre-back came up trumps against Strasbourg and had Senegal international Diallo in his pocket.


The latter never looked like beating him. And as the game wore on, his confidence drained with that old clever dog of Ramos constantly on his toes. 

 

Playing alongside reconverted defender Danilo Pereira and Bitshiabu in a three-man defence he was an absolute rock. And it’s fair to say that there’s a PSG team with him and one without him.


The four-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid may no longer be the youngest baller out there and may get beaten for pace every now and then, but he’s still the main man in that PSG defence.


His interceptions, interventions and masterful improvisations still make life a nightmare for opponents as les strasbourgeois found out during the hard-fought encounter. 

 

In a rare moment when the PSG backline was caught out by a long, travelling ball over the top which landed to Diallo’s feet, Ramos did just enough to close the angle down, leaving him no choice but to fire his effort at Donnarumma at the near-post.

 

Later in the second period when Diallo looked clear to get to a long ball first again, up popped Ramos to beat him to it without even trying hard


The impressive oldie also caught the Strasbourg rear guard by surprise when he rampaged upfield through central areas like a teenager to win a free-kick on the edge of the box for his team. Amazingly, Ramos’ anticipation skills and understanding of the game still give him the edge over quicker players. And unlike some modern defenders, he knows when to get tight and when he has to drop off. Not to mention his leadership and experience, which are unrivalled in the game and rub off on everyone.


There was nothing he could do when Gameiro chipped home the rebound after Donnarumma had spectacularly kept Morgan Sanson’s effort out.

 

The French media have reported that Ramos looks set to prolong his stay under the Eiffel Tower for a further year albeit on reduced terms. Yet Arsenal should try to hijack the deal and get their own Thiago Silva if possible. 

 

Although filthy-rich PSG being crowned French champions may not come as a surprise, the wily Spaniard playing at the high level he is only three years before turning 40 with almost 1000 career games behind him, IS remarkable.

 

With Xhaka reportedly set to depart the Emirates Stadium, Ramos’ experience would be invaluable as the Gunners look to make a good first impression back in the Champions League after six years away. 

 

In the past the player may have split opinion in the footballing world due to his antics and take-no-prisoners attitude.


But his aura would make him an easy sell among the Arsenal fans who only need to look at the impact veteran defender Silva, who also joined from Paris, has had on Chelsea in the last three seasons.

 

With experience comes better game understanding, and no player in the Arsenal ranks provides that in larger supply than Ramos. 

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