Arsenal fans were left bemused when Arsene Wenger rejected the opportunity to re-sign Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona this summer, but the Gunners boss will see his decision justified over the course of the 2014/15 campaign by Aaron Ramsey.
The Wales international, once much-maligned by his own supporters, silenced his many doubters with a string of stunning performances last season. Had the 23-year-old not missed three months of the campaign, it's possible that Arsenal would have retained pole position in the Premier League table and gone on to win their first league title since 2004. He was playing that well.
Ramsey set to repeat last season's success
Fortunately, Ramsey proved this was no flash in the pan by finishing the season in the same rich vein of form. It's been the same story in pre-season and he produced the goods once again during Sunday's 3-0 victory over Premier League champions Manchester City in the Community Shield.
Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown, working for BBC Sport as a television pundit, said after the match that Ramsey is currently playing as well as Fabregas was in the season before the Spaniard left the Gunners for Barcelona.
High praise, indeed. But it's no wild exaggeration.
Ramsey now comparable with Fabregas
Fabregas's best season with Arsenal was, in fact, his penultimate campaign with the north London outfit, when he scored 19 goals and contributed 17 assists in his 36 appearances.
Ramsey's statistics weren't too dissimilar last season. The Welshman netted 15 goals and provided nine assists in 28 matches.
Had he not suffered a three-month injury lay-off, Ramsey probably would have finished the season with more than 20 goals to his name and at least 15 assists.
Only room for one of them
Whatever the midfielder touches at the moment turns to gold - and Wenger may have feared that re-signing Fabregas could have had a detrimental effect on the rising star's development.
In the end, the Gunners boss decided there was only enough room for one of them at the Emirates Stadium. Ramsey and Fabregas would have taken up very similar positions on the pitch had they been deployed together and the balance of the team would have suffered as a direct result.
The Ramsey-Wilshere midfield axis, with Mikel Arteta in just behind, could prove to be very effective as the season gets underway.
Watch: Aaron Ramsey in action
Wenger was absolutely right to reject Cesc
Although supporters crave the acquisition of star names - and in Fabregas's case, we're talking about a high-profile star who was still cherished by the Gunners faithful, up until his decision to join Chelsea - it's in the manager's best interests to put the balance of the team before anything else.
Wenger would have been sorely tempted to re-sign Fabregas. The Frenchman was the Spaniard's mentor for eight years, and the pair have great mutual respect for one another.
But the Arsenal boss made the right decision. At 23, Ramsey is the greater prospect - and is on the brink of becoming the Gunners' new Fabregas, anyway.
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