When Tottenham Hotspur signed Gareth Bale from Southampton in 2007 he came with a wave of optimism, as he had performed wonders as a fresh faced teen at St Marys. But the fact remained that nobody thought he would be sold to Real Madrid six years later as the world’s most expensive player.
Especially after his initial struggles as a skinny left-back who essentially couldn’t defend.
It took Bale a while, and failed moves to Nottingham Forest and Birmingham City, before he started playing on the wing and regimentally began making mincemeat out of full-backs and goal-nets across the continent.
And what I am about to say now might just cause a meltdown on the comments feed, but I’m willing to take the stick - isn’t Aaron Ramsey’s career starting to look like a parallel?
Ramsey, like Bale, first came to the attention of Premier League suitors as a teenager in the Championship. Many teams approached him about a move, including Manchester United but instead he went to North London - see it?
Then he struggled initially, with injuries and physical immaturity playing a major role in his lack of progress.
Now, he has filled out, and at age 22 is starting to look like the real deal.
He has started this season in absolutely sensational form - if you can’t agree with everything else I am saying you cannot deny that as fact.
His double against Sunderland at the weekend was just another fillip for what has been a stunning 2013-14 so far.
And if he is looking for inspiration of what can come after a promising career initially struggles to get off the ground, he could look in worse places than his international team-mate.
Am I saying Ramsey is better than Bale? No. Am I saying he could be better? No. Am I saying he could be worth €100m one day? 100% no.
What I am saying however is that he can be as good as we all thought he would when Arsenal lured him away from the Welsh capital. He is now on the cusp of his greatest season, and just like Bale it has taken him a while to mentally and physically understand what is necessary to be a consistent star in the Premier League.
Now we are finally seeing the Aaron Ramsey we all hoped we would, and taking Gareth Bale as an example of where to aim would not be the worst thing for Arsenal’s 22-year-old midfielder.
image: © wonker