Aaron the poker game is up, buddy. Emery gave you his Paddington stare and you blinked, and the contract is no longer on the table. You may value your contributions to the team – and who will quickly forget your FA Cup final goals? – but Unai can do without you; and so, he was not bluffing when he said you sign that thing now or it is Diolch and Bore Da (thank you and good morning).
With Torreira, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Elneny and AMN, Unai has five deeper midfielders who can all push up and support the attacking ‘Nr10’ midfielder. That Nr10 role is for the one who wears the shirt, and it is now clear to all of us that combining you with Mesut is just not working. With these pushing-up, all-round midfielders who can defend and support attack in equal measure and with high levels of discipline, the one in the hole needs to be comfortable with receiving the ball in tight areas and with finding space where there does not seem to be any and producing those fine, well-weighted passes. This my friend is not you. You devour space and need it to thrive with that big engine of yours, but it is not what the new Arsenal system can offer you. We have Mesut and Mkhi, and Iwobi and Smith-Rowe are making rapid progress to become the new Master of the Hole position.
It could (still) work if YOU would play on the right with discipline and dedication and leave the middle to Mesut, but this just seems beyond you.
After 10 years at the club, you should be making the difference now, but you are not and the new manager has decided he can do without you. There comes a time when you have to fulfil your promise and it is sad this has not happened at the home of football. I was there when the vile Orcs snapped your leg; I have defended and supported you through numerous posts here on BK and other blogs for many years; I had high, high hopes that you would become a modern-day-legend for our club. There were moments and even a season or two in which you delivered but you never really got to where I thought you were capable of ending up: our new Vierra, our Lampard or our Gerrard. A real shame.
I know there were regular injuries but something else is missing, call it focus or hunger or intrinsic pride for the shirt, or presence or leadership or desire. Whatever it is, it is missing. You should have signed that contract a long time ago, but you didn’t, and that said/says it all to me.
Use the next few months wisely and make a move that works for you, and not just in terms of status and salary.