When news happens, text BAZ and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Gaston on his way out?
7:00am Saturday 21st December 2013 in Sport
WHEN attacking midfielder Gastón Ramirez arrived in the summer of 2012, the St Mary’s faithful licked their lips in anticipation of watching one of football’s hot prospects don the club’s crest.
The impression was that Nigel Adkins planned to build his Saints side around the Uruguayan star, who was bought from Bologna for around £12m on the final day of last season’s summer transfer window – setting a new record amount paid for a player by Saints, writes PETER HOWARD.
The 23-year-old had just come off the back of a glittering Olympics where he starred for Uruguay’s Under-23s, scoring a stunning free-kick at Old Trafford in their 2-1 win over the United Arab Emirates.
He represented a fantastic coup for Saints after being linked with top clubs in Italy and England.
As such, Adkins was excited to utilise such a prospect. Early promise, with a splattering of skilful performances, turned to calls for time to let him settle into the team as inconsistencies crept into his game.
Poor set piece deliveries, lack of strength and workrate were all concerns for Saints supporters.
In addition, he also spent his fair share of time on the treatment table.
From when Mauricio Pochettino replaced Adkins in January, Ramirez was either subbed or a substitute in the ten games he played under the Argentinean.
His first season in England ended on a sour note after getting sent off for an elbow in the 3-0 defeat to West Bromwich Albion. Over the summer, Pochettino sculpted his team. The lung-bursting, high tempo, passing, fluid game we’ve become familiar with was created during tours in Spain and Austria. But by the time Ramirez joined the squad late in July, after being involved in the Confederations Cup, much of the development would have been complete.
His constant movement around the entire globe with the Uruguay national side, in all fairness, probably didn’t help him settle at Saints.
But it is clear that he will continue to be a fringe player this season and might even exit the club in the coming January transfer window. In Pochettino’s system there is no question that Ramirez, a technically gifted player, simply doesn’t have the work-rate or strength to be considered first choice.
And with Adam Lallana, Jay Rodriguez and James Ward-Prowse in blistering form, his chances of playing have become slimmer and slimmer. His cameo performances - playing just 94 minutes of Premier League football in total - have resigned many to the conclusion that he’s a lost cause.
His undoubted talents do not seem suited to the style of the English top-flight. His likely destination would be Serie A in the coming transfer window; Inter Milan and Napoli have both stated their interest.
Yet there is still a feeling at St Mary’s that any day now Ramirez will bloom into the player Saints fans all hoped he’d be. The glimpses of flicks, twists and gloriously placed through balls have hinted at what ability he has.
Unfortunately, he is a luxury Saints cannot afford. With every man working at full tilt for 90 minutes, it would be impossible to cater for his style. Ramirez, who has won 26 caps for his country, was born in Fray Bentos - yes, that’s right, the town which possesses the same name as the pie company. His first club was Penarol in his homeland. From there, he was then snapped up by Bologna in 2010, becoming a key player as they finished 9th and 16th in Serie A. He made his debut for Uruguay aged just 19 during a 7-1 win over Indonesia in October 2010. At London 2012 he came up against fellow Saint, Jack Cork, and clattered the bar as Daniel Sturridge scored the winner in a 1-0 victory. But if he wants to follow up his Olympic time with a regular World Cup place next summer, he probabaly needs to find himself a new club.
Comments are closed on this article.