Arsenal chief reveals why Aaron Ramsey was allowed to join Juventus on a free transfer
Arsenal's head of football Raul Sanllehi has explained why his club opted to allow midfielder Aaron Ramsey to leave the club on a free transfer, after months of confusion over a decision that has infuriated many of the club's supporters.
Wales international Ramsey has claimed that he was ready to sign a new deal with Arsenal, only for the offer on the table to be taken away and he has now signed a deal to join Italian champions Juventus on a free transfer.
The decision to allow such a valuable asset to walk away from the club sparked claims that Arsenal were embarking on a cost-cutting programme, with Sanllehi's confirmation that Ramsey was allowed to leave due to the club's reluctance to sanction his wage demands doing little to dampen that theory.
"For circumstances, whatever it was, we went to the last year of his contract. That's a problem," he stated.
"We have to be responsible on how we manage the club. One of the key things for me - and I've seen that happening in other clubs - one of the key things is to keep the rationality in the salary balance of the team.
"Because of our circumstances, because of not renewing Aaron on time, we were in a situation in which Aaron had incredible offers building on his salary. He was really keen on staying with us, he was ready to make the effort, but at the end of the whole process we had to be responsible for ourselves and protect the interests of Arsenal.
"At the end of the day, the problem, the real essence of the problem, was that we had reached the last year of the contract. I think Vinai mentioned it at the beginning of this interview, one of our priorities is not to get to the last year of contracts. This is the example.
"The only way to get to the end of a contract is when you are ready to release that player at the end of that contract, but if you really want to keep that player, you need to renew him before getting to the last year of the contract because you are putting yourself in a very weak position. We cannot get to the last year of the contract.
"If we cannot get a renewal before that, then we may have to sell. But the position of the club, of losing a player of the quality - and not only the football quality but the human quality and club identification - of Aaron, we have to avoid that. It's not correct for us."
Ramsey, who will miss next week's Europa League final against Chelsea in Baku due to injury, was in tears as he was presented with a leaving gift on the pitch at Emirates Stadium following Arsenal's final game of the season.