I have admitted defeat.
Too long have I spent attempting to decipher the Aaron Ramsey riddle with no joy.
He’s been a Premier League player for a decade now and I have as little grasp on his worth as any player I’ve seen play.
Granted he’s been hampered by injuries, including one terrible setback, and his spot in the preferred starting XI hasn’t always been secure.
Cesc Fabregas, Tomas Rosicky, Jack Wilshere, Alex Song, Samir Nasri, Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil have provided stiff competition in midfield during the Welshman’s Arsenal career.
But after ten years and over 350 games, I really thought I’d have a read on him by now.
Naturally, I greeted the news of his impending switch to Juventus with a contradictory blend of bafflement and understated acceptance.
The Old Lady are set to continue their habitual hoarding of the best free transfers available with the recruitment of Ramsey.
Although the phrase ‘free transfer’ fails to account for the staggering wage package reportedly offered.
Multiple sources claim the 28-year-old will be paid £400,000-a-week in Italy, which will make him the second-highest earner in Serie A after Cristiano Ronaldo.
So what will Ramsey offer the Italian champions?
The aforementioned disruptions mean Ramsey’s base stats are partially deceptive.
However, when you consider his numbers in terms of minutes rather than appearances (a more accurate measurement of performance) the results illuminate an effective, well-rounded midfield force.
Taking into account league and European cup fixtures since 2009, Ramsey averages more accurate passes per 90 minutes than David Silva, Luka Modric, Christian Eriksen, Isco and soon-to-be team-mate Miralem Pjanic.
Accurate passes keep the team ticking over in midfield, but what about the Hollywood numbers?
In the same time period, Ramsey averages more goals+assists per 90 minutes than Dimitri Payet, Paul Pogba, Yaya Toure and Arturo Vidal.
Cesc Fabregas is the only central midfielder in Europe’s top five leagues to have contributed to more goals per 90 minutes than Ramsey while also averaging more accurate passes.
Nearly ten years of data presents Ramsey as an elite midfielder with a prolific output.
And here I am questioning his quality? What a fool.
A two-time Arsenal Player of the Season, Ramsey has endeavoured to play the football to which Gunners fans have become accustomed.
Deft flicks, one-twos, late runs into the box, composed finishes, memorable goals.
The more I consider Ramsey’s career in isolation, the more realise how blind I have been.
Perhaps I am guilty of holding him up as the embodiment of Arsene Wenger’s post-Invincibles era.
Those copy-and-paste years when the Gunners were never really in the title race and failed to get past the round of 16 in the Champions League.
FA Cup glories failed to mask the scent of stagnation that marred Wenger’s latter years and for some reason, Ramsey is the first player I associate with that team.
Juventus’ black and white stripes will surely enhance his reputation.
The Turin-based club are on course to win their 8th consecutive league title.
Their players are winners by nature and Ramsey, understandably, wants a slice of the action.
And with ignorant simpletons like me having underappreciated him for a decade, he probably deserves some gimmie honours.