“Where are they going?” Merson slams Arsenal’s recruitment following poor start to the season

Paul Merson has slammed Arsenal’s recruitment after the Gunners started this season with a 2-0 loss to Brentford.

After spending on Ben White and Albert Sambi Lokonga, Gooners had expected that their team would be in top shape from the start of this season.

However, that loss to the newly-promoted Brentford shows that they still have a long way to go.

Mikel Arteta has presided over the signing of the likes of Willian and gave a new deal to David Luiz last season.

Willian remains and is set to become the next Mesut Ozil at the Emirates with his big-money salary proving too much to ship him out in this transfer window.

Merson says since Edu has been in charge of transfers, their recruitment has been lazy.

He claims he isn’t sure how much of a say Mikel Arteta has in signing players, but if managers were to be judged by who they have signed, he has done poorly.

‘It’s worrying at Arsenal,’ he told Sky Sports. You’re still thinking: “Where are they going?” Edu has come in, and the recruitment has been lazy, if I’m being honest. It’s been: ‘Oh, we’ll take Willian on a free… we’ll take David Luiz for cheap.’

‘I remember years ago in football, managers were judged on signings. Sometimes I think Arteta is left behind, and I’m not sure how much of a say he has got in all of this.’

Tags Paul Merson


  1. Recruitment has been horrible.

    I really hope the same goalkeeping coach who recommended Runarsson, hasn’t recommended Ramsdale.

  2. The recruitment and transfer dealings are haphazard and totally worrying. I am amazed that we have spent money and not really improved the first team from last season. White will be the only regular out of all our signing that will differ from last season. How is that improving?

  3. Breaking News: Aaron Ramsdale is a done deal at 24 M + 6 add-ons

    The soon-to-be Gunner has already been getting horrifying abuses on his Twitter

    Toxicity and negativity levels found in the fans are high as usual, fueled by opportunistic media and the pundits

      1. Actually we just lost one away game, despite losing against a newly promoted team. But the situation will be different if we lose the next two EPL games

        1. that’s why you can’t seem to grasp the highly-nuanced plight of those within the fanbase who are justifiably pissed, which has very little to do with one stupid, albeit frustrating, loss on opening day

      2. Only Arsenal fans would openly deride and
        excoriate a player who has yet to play a
        minute @ the Emirates and is more than
        likely realizing his futbol dreams @ the tender
        age of 23..

        I understand the frustrations of Arsenal fans
        but such treatment of any player is beyond

        Arsenal fans can and should do a whole lot

        1. that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever…so according to your infinite wisdom we should wipe the slate clean and simply assess the player from the point of purchase going forward…now that could make some sense if we brought him in on a free, with a modest wage to boot, under the presumption that he was acquired for the sole purpose to be a cover Keeper for this season…unfortunately we paid over the number, considering his performances up to this point, with the logical assumption that he’s our future number 1, yet he doesn’t even possess the proven “play out from the back” skillset that our manager appears to covet

        2. Absolutely agree.
          Also, some of the other posts on here are nothing short of disgraceful.
          How this can be considered acceptable behaviour is extraordinary.

    1. GAI, once Aaron Ramsdale is an Arsenal player he needs to be supported. It is not his fault Edu and Arteta have brought him to the Club. He deserves to start with “a clean slate” and let his keeping do the talking.

  4. Merso is right in that Arsenals recruitement these past 12 years has been diabolical.
    Billionaire sugar daddies and huge tv deals
    meant the league was awash with money and clubs like Arsenals simply spent mega billions on any one we wanted + gave them expensive long term no performance clause contracts.
    Covid has caught clubs out especially those with out a free spending sugar daddy.
    So while City, PSG and Chelskea still flash the cash Arsenal has had to evolve a more pragmatic approach.
    And to be fair it has worked very well this summer.
    A younger cheaper better resale product
    is now being recruited.
    White Gabriel Saliba Tierney Tavarez Lokonga ESR Guendouzie Martinelli Saka Azeez Balogun and soon to be Odegaard and Ramsdalle clearly indicate the evolution of a new lean machine at Arsenal.
    Merson will be singing the praises of this recruitment policy by the end of the season even claiming credit for the turn around.
    But thats what pundits do 🙂

  5. “Merson explains why Willian would be an excellent signing” 7 August 2020 Metro..

    Google is not your friend Merson.

    What a muppet.

    1. another cherry-picking expedition by the Arteta apologists fan club…btw he’s not the manager who was tasked with “rebuilding” this club, who decided instead to opt for a short-sighted and selfishly-motivated “retool”…if he was, he would be facing similar and equally-logical questions about his ability to make substantive change at this club

      1. Good evening TRVL – or good morning/good afternoon
        what would you be doing under the circumstances? I haven’t a clue, so leave it up to you or others to come up with something plausible or our beleagured manager to explain it all

  6. I didn’t mention Arteta.

    My post had nothing to do with Arteta.

    It has everything to do with a pundit who with the benefit of hindsight tries to pretend he never saw the Willian signing in a different light. He’s a hypocrite.

    I agreed with Merson’s assessment in August 2020. I thought Willian was a good signing although had concerns about the length of the contract. With the benefit of hindsight I hold up my hand and say I was dead wrong and Willian’s signing is possibly the biggest of several mistakes in the Arteta/Edu regime.

    1. Good on you. I agree that the only obvious worry was the length of the contract. I never saw it as a bad signing.

      1. you’ve missed the point…Merson, like many fans of the club, was similarly caught up in the euphoria of the moment, following the somewhat surprising FA victory…that said, if you watch those games again, they were far more about Martinez than anything that might be construed as a managerial masterclass

        the difference is that as the highly paid adult in the room, with a mandate to make substantive changes, you simply couldn’t afford to deviate from the PLAN, no matter how enticing the prospect of a quicker “retool” might have seemed…unfortunately, our “green” manager, upon receiving his “fair share” of collective kudos, appeared to care infinitely more about his headlines than the greater good

        the fact that he proposed this course of action, of which he was mistakenly rewarded for, with the managerial title, means that he must be held accountable for such a short-sighted and reckless, considering the potential monetary and developmental consequences, shot in the dark…yet instead of facing the music of his self-inflicted misstep, he was rewarded once again with potentially the largest transfer budget since we arrived at this albatross of a stadium…does that make any sense?

        1. I would have to have a PHD in reading between the lines to have seen that point in your original post above.

          The point of your first post above was to slag off another poster as an “Arteta apologist” when that had nothing to do with my original post.

          Yes Willian was a mistake although I’m not sure it was simply a shortcut.
          I think Arteta maybe had a Hansen “you never win anything with kids” loop in his head. Bad but possibly not fatal mistake.

          Anyway, the signings since (excluding Partey) sho a much more consistent profile which I welcome.

          1. it’s fairly clear your intention was to both besmirch Merson, while simultaneously providing what you thought might be a viable excuse for Arteta’s pursuit of Willian…you certainly wouldn’t have to be a PHD to make that inference…I get that you see this as a relatively harmless “my bad” moment, but as I explained in my earlier post, this move led to other moves, which in turn created a snowball or domino effect that had fairly significant ramifications, most of which could have been surmised by an intelligent footballing manager from the offing…as such, he should have been relieved of his duties and not given an extensive transfer kitty…it’s called accountability, which is something that has been missing from this organization for far too long

  7. Have to agree regarding Willian who hasn’t been a success but I doubt many could have predicted the drop off in performance.
    Also, despite Luiz’s errors he was still one Arsenal’s best defenders last season.

  8. To be fair to the club, we had a long term recruitment and development plan that was set in place over three years ago. Parts of this plan included signing, retaining and developing a core of young players to complement our academy prospects. Saliba, Gwendouzi and Torreira are three examples of players that were signed with this purpose in mind.

    Where we went wrong was in its the execution. Apparently, our current manager, Arteta, was not told about plan. So, we are now in shambles: Saliba and Guendozi are now playing abroad against the world’s best players – Messi, Neymar and M’bappe -while we are here trying to re-invent the wheel with Ben White at a cost of over 50M.

    We are caught in a never-ending spending spiral, like the mag dog chasing its tale, going around in circles and going no where. A top spending club, finishing in 8th position, two years in a row, and unable to qualify for Europe.

    We need to nix the practice of hiring a team manager, hire the players ourselves and then hire a coach. In short, follow the Chelsea system.

    I’m getting tired of the sordid and unpleasant term “deadwood”.

  9. I guess the Artetaheads are out there all guns blazing in the name of staying positive, regardless of dire football and simply weird decision making. Now it’s Merson under attack. What does he know after all. Just someone who helped the club to two titles and was one of the first pundits to call out Wegner’s sinking ship.

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