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.