Newcastle United

Newcastle United

Premier League • England

Merson: Midfielder would have been ‘best player’ Newcastle could have bought

Paul Merson, football pundit

Paul Merson says Aaron Ramsey would have been “the best player they could have bought by a country mile” had Newcastle managed to land the former Arsenal man.

Ramsey instead made a loan move to Rangers in a deal that is a major coup for the Scottish Premiership leaders. Juventus are cooperating with the Wales star’s huge wages, so that the 31-year-old fits into the Ibrox side’s wage structure.

Newcastle, Crystal Palace, Burnley and Wolves are all believed to have been in pursuit of the Wales star. Juve wanted the former Arsenal man out, whose wages are around £400,000 a week, out of the Turin club.

But Merson has expressed his “shock” that no more English clubs did not go all out to land Ramsey.

“It shows how much the two teams have come on and how big they are that Ramsey at Juventus would go to Rangers,” Merson told Sky Sports.

“Wales are going to be playing Scotland in their World Cup play-off and a Scottish team are going to take him to get game time to try and knock Scotland out – for me, I don’t think that makes much sense.

“It’s been disappointing [at Juventus]. When you get a move, you’ve got to start well at a big club like that and it didn’t work out for him.

“I’m very shocked there isn’t Premier League clubs in for him. He’s a player that scores goals from midfield, a good player and I’m shocked there aren’t more clubs in for him.

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Watching brief for Ramsey

“You look at Newcastle, who are buying players left, right and centre. And he would be the best player they’ve bought by a country mile.”

Ramsey has been capped 71 times by his country, but his time in Serie A has been miserable.

He moved to Turin in 2019 after an 11-year spell with Arsenal. But he has made just five appearances for Juventus this season and had fallen out of coach Max Allegri’s plans.

After meeting his team-mates for the first time, Ramsey trained with the squad on Tuesday.

But having not played a game since November, Ramsey will watch the Celtic clash on Wednesday from the stands.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst said: “Ramsey trained but too soon for tomorrow. I expect him in the squad in the near future.

“To be able to bring in a player like Aaron was a very good opportunity for us. He will bring experience and quality to the squad.”