Ramsey completes Arsenal switch
Champions League winners Manchester United and Premier League giants Everton were also in the hunt for the 17-year-old Welsh prodigy.
But Ramsey has signed a long-term deal at Arsenal after they flew him to Switzerland for face-to-face talks with boss Arsene Wenger at Euro 2008.
“He was a big factor in my decision to join Arsenal,” said Ramsey. “I’m so happy to have signed for Arsenal.”
Known as “Rambo”, Ramsey progressed through the youth ranks at Cardiff City.
In April 2007, he became the youngest player to represent the Bluebirds aged 16 years and 124 days when he replaced Paul Parry in a 1-0 home defeat to Hull City.
Since then, Ramsey went on to make a total of 22 appearances for the Welsh side, including a substitute appearance in last season’s FA Cup Final against Portsmouth at Wembley Stadium.
Born: December 26, 1990 in Caerphilly
Club: Cardiff City (22 games, 2 goals)
Height: 5ft 10ins
Did you know?: Ramsey was an excellent rugby player and played on the wing for Caerphilly
Cardiff striker Steve Thompson on “Rambo”: We call him Marge Simpson because his hair is a proper thatch – and his first car is a luminous, lime green Ford Fiesta with a black and white checkerboard roof. If he goes to the Premier League, the car will have to go!
He also became the youngest player to represent his country at Under-21 level in August 2007.
Ramsey spoke to Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson on the telephone as initially Premier League champions United looked favourite to sign him.
Cardiff made no secret of the fact they wanted him to join United to take advantage of the loan-back agreement.
He also met Everton manager David Moyes before being flown out on a private jet to Basel last Saturday to meet with Wenger.
“Arsene talked to me for a long time about the club and the plans for the future, which really excites me,” said Ramsey.
“Arsenal is a club which always gives young players an opportunity at the highest level of the game and I am going to work my hardest to be part of future successes here.
“It was a really difficult decision to leave Cardiff City, they are my local club with great supporters and I would just like thank everyone at Cardiff City for their support and help in my early career.
“I will still look out for their results and there will always be a place in my heart for the Bluebirds.”
Ramsey caught Arsenal’s eye when the young midfielder shone in a goal-scoring display during Cardiff’s FA Youth Cup quarter-final defeat to the Gunners in February 2007.
“We’re delighted to have signed Aaron Ramsey,” said Wenger.
“He is a young player who has shown huge potential with his performances for both Cardiff City and Wales at Under-17 and Under-21 levels.
“He is still only 17, but has already shown that he is a very intelligent and mature player with great quality.
“Although he mainly plays in midfield, Aaron is a versatile player and can also play across the defence.
“We are all looking forward to welcoming Aaron to the Club for our pre-season preparations.” Ramsey – hailed as “sensational” by Wales youth guru Brian Flynn – is one of a crop of promising Welsh youngsters tipped for the big-time.
Cardiff boss Dave Jones has hailed Ramsey’s versatility as the teenager has played in his favoured central midfield role, on each flank, at full-back and also in a free role behind the striker this season.
Ramsey, his former Cardiff colleague Joe Ledley, Tottenham’s Gareth Bale, Wolves keeper Wayne Hennessey and West Ham midfielder Jack Collison have been earmarked as Wales’ stars of the future by Wales boss Toshack.
The Caerphilly-born playmaker is the latest off the Cardiff production line of players to move to the Premier League following Chris Gunter, Danny Gabbidon, James Collins and Rob Earnshaw into the top league.
He will join up with his new team mates at Arsenal for pre-season training in early July.
A Cardiff City statement said: “We would like to wish Aaron every success in the top-flight.”