Aaron Ramsey insists he still holds Arsenal close to his heart despite struggling to comprehend the nature of his departure three years on from his tearful exit.
The Wales international is firmly etched in Arsenal folklore having scored the winning goals in the 2014 and 2017 FA Cup final.
Ramsey, however, left under something of a cloud in the summer of 2019 having been deemed surplus to requirements by Unai Emery.
The 31-year-old appeared to be on the cusp of signing a new long-term deal but Arsenal’s contract offer was taken off the table and forced Ramsey to make a lucrative switch to Serie A giants Juventus.
Ramsey struggled to acclimatise in Italy and was scapegoated by the club’s fans on account of his injury problems and his astronomical £400,000-a-week salary.
The former Cardiff youngster has since relaunched his career in France with Nice ahead of the World Cup, but he admits he still keeps an eye on Arsenal’s results and is not surprised to see them thriving again under the management of his former teammate Mikel Arteta.
He told The Times: ‘“It all happened . . . I agreed to a contract they proposed. Things went quiet for a few weeks. I was telling my agent, ‘Let’s do it,’ then all of a sudden the contract was no longer there. So there was nothing to sign or agree.
‘It was a difficult start for a few months with Unai. As the season was going on, I was playing more and playing really well.
‘Then January came and I had to make a decision whether I carried on and saw what happened or whether I agreed somewhere.
‘There was a lot of change with the manager coming. I don’t understand, I still don’t know what exactly happened.
‘I have no bad words or bad feelings to Arsenal. They are still a massive part of my life and I still look out for them and I am really glad to see them doing so well.
‘I always have love for Arsenal and that will never change.’
Ramsey was visited in France by his mentor and former manager Arsene Wenger recently, and he revealed the details of their conversation.
He added: ‘I hadn’t seen Arsene for a few years so it was a really nice surprise to chat about the Arsenal days and old stories,” he says. “I always get sucked in and intrigued by what he has to say.
‘We talked about football, the French league, Wales, Arsenal, his role at Fifa. A bit of reminiscing. We had plenty to look back over those ten, eleven years.’
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