Aaron Ramsey is ready to welcome Kenya and Celtic midfielder Victor Wanyama to Arsenal if the club succeeds in signing the midfielder.
Ramsey has already fallen in love with Kenya after spending a week in the country on holiday visiting Watamu, Masai Mara and spending a day at the Hemingways Hotel in Nairobi.
“From what I have seen and experienced in Kenya, having a Kenyan at Arsenal would be a great thing,” he said in an interview.
“Of course I don’t have a say on who joins us at the Emirates but if at all Arsenal get to sign Victor (Wanyama), I will be the first to welcome him.
Ramsey has watched Wanyama in several matches and he believes the two can form a good partnership in Arsenal’s midfield.
“Before I saw him play, all I knew of Kenya was its wildlife, athletics and the Rugby Sevens squad,” he said. Kenya reached the semi-finals of the Rugby Sevens World Cup in 2007. The tournament was won by Wales, Ramsey’s home country.
“I love rugby, I started off as a rugby player before I shifted to football. I was a flyhalf,” he disclosed.
“So I have great attachment to the game, both Sevens and Fifteens and I am proud my country won the Sevens World Cup,” he says.
So from what Ramsey had heard of Kenya, the wildlife and the scenery, he decided to visit the country.
“I have always had an interest in wildlife and the best place to see this is Kenya. I came with my family and I have had a great time here. I would not mind coming back.”
“What a great country you have, with great people, very welcoming, always smiling, always willing to help.”
And he believes having Wanyama at Arsenal would be a great thing.
“I have watched him play for Celtic, I watched him score against Barcelona and I think he is a great player. Whether he will join us is for other people to decided.”
Last Thursday, Arsenal legend Perry Groves urged Arsene Wenger to beat all his rivals to the punch. Groves reckons Wanyama should be a priority signing and a bargain at under £10million (around Sh1.27 billion).
And Wenger is said to be considering having the young Kenyan next season, something Ramsey said will be great news.
“He name has been all over the British press. He is one player I have read many clubs in England are chasing and I have no doubt he has great talent if top clubs in England are interested in him,” said the Arsenal midfielder. “For a Kenyan to win the Young Player of the Year award in Scotland, it means a lot. It shows that there is great football potential in this country.”
Ramsey has had a tough season with Arsenal, a season which seemed to be crumbling at some point when a place in the UEFA Champions League seemed elusive, but he says it all boiled down to experience.
“It was a great finish, every player worked hard and there was always pressure, especially with Tottenham also in great form. But we have been there before and we knew how to handle the pressure and eventually we were rewarded.”
Ramsey snubbed both Newcastle and Manchester United to join Arsenal in 2008 because he believed that is where his career would flourish.
“I chose Arsenal because it has a tradition of bringing up young players and at the same time I felt more wanted by Arsenal than the rest,” he says.
“And I do not have any regrets. I have developed as a player under Arsene Wenger. I have grown in my career.I would probably not be where I am today. The boss has done a great job with me and many young players.” he says.
His career nearly came to an end three years ago after breaking his leg from a hard tackle from Stoke City’s Ryan Showcross.
“When I got injured, so much went through my mind. But I can only thank the medical staff who took care of me. They told me I will recover and even be a better player.
“Mentally, it was very tough especially the first days when I came back. I feared playing, I feared being tackled, I feared going for the ball.
But I have recovered and I think the last season has proved that I back to my best form, maybe even better.
The 22-year-old midfielder, capped 26 times for Wales, joined Arsenal in the year 2008 from Cardiff City.
He featured in 36 of the 38 games in the ended 2012/13 season netting once leading his side to a fourth place finish.