Paul Merson launches overly harsh attack on Arsenal’s work in the transfer market

Paul Merson says Arsenal aren’t competing for big players.

Former Arsenal star Paul Merson has hit out at the club for their work in the January transfer market.

The player-turned-pundit has analysed the January window just gone, giving a rather harsh response to the addition of defensive duo Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares.

Mari arrives as a relative unknown from Brazilian club Flamengo, while Soares had fallen out of favour at Southampton before his loan move to the Emirates Stadium at the end of the transfer window.

Clearly, these are not the big names many fans will be craving, and some Gooners will have been left disappointed that more could not be done to improve this squad, which at the moment doesn’t even look capable of qualifying for next season’s Europa League.

Discussing the signings, Merson was quoted by the Metro as saying: “Arteta worked with him [Mari] at Man City and will have gone to Arsenal, worked with the defenders at Arsenal and weighed it up and thought, ‘He’s played in the second division in Spain but he’s probably better than what I’ve got here’.

“The main thing is, he’s seen what he needs at the back. He has come in and brought two defenders in. Will they make a difference? We will have to wait and see.

“The shame for me is that it just shows where Arsenal are. They are struggling. They aren’t the big fish anymore where they can go and get £50m or £60m players. They are going for players that no-one else is really after. It wasn’t like they were in a bidding war.

“The lad from Southampton, I didn’t even know he was available and if there was anyone else after him.”

This is a tad over the top from Merse, however, as he ignores the big-money summer purchase of Nicolas Pepe.

While the Ivory Coast international has obviously not lived up to expectations so far, we cannot rewrite history and pretend he didn’t look an ambitious signing that many other top clubs would have wanted at the time.

One just has to hope that once next summer comes, there’ll be more money for Mikel Arteta to spend on names that will get fans off their seats.


  1. I agree with Merson but then most of the comments I read from fans seem to suggest they are happy with mid n avg talent. If the players we brought on loan were so special why was no other team involved in bidding.

    1. I’m not sure a lot of fans believe the 2 signings are special. If they were, I’m sure we would have gone for permanent deals instead of loan deals. I think they are just short-term fixes to cover for the team till the season is over.

      As for Merson, his theory is really flawed. Does there have to be a bidding war before a player is considered a talent? Did Merson ever hear of the Spurs new kid (Bergwijn)? Everyone just seem to think that the higher the purchase PRICE of a player, the higher the VALUE of that player.

  2. Arteta made a professional error in joining Arsenal,it must have been based on emotions from the past. That Arsenal is gone Mike, not you or any other `would be manager` can succeed while Kroneke pulls the purse strings. Maybe time to start looking for options?

    1. Unfortunately Paul Merson was a better player with a hang over, than many of the current players sober.
      However, someone should tell him that Flamengo is not a second division club in Brazil!

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