Paul Merson hits out at Arsenal's 'lazy' transfer policy

‘Edu has come in and the recruitment has been lazy’: Paul Merson claims Arsenal’s transfer policy has ‘left Mikel Arteta behind’ and says the club only signed Willian and David Luiz because they’re ‘cheap’ as pressure grows on Gunners technical director

  • Arsenal icon Paul Merson has taken aim at the club’s ‘lazy’ transfer policy 
  • He criticised technical director Edu after making a handful of free transfers
  • The Gunners have come under fire after a dismal 2-0 loss to Brentford 

Arsenal legend Paul Merson has hit out at the club’s transfer policy under technical director Edu, claiming the Gunners have been guilty of ‘lazy recruitment’ that has ‘left Mikel Arteta behind’.

The club have come under fire just one game into the season after their dismal 2-0 defeat to Brenford last week, with Arteta’s men having no answer to the newly-promoted outfit and leaving fans furious with the board over the state of the squad.

And Merson, who played 423 times for the Gunners, said the situation was ‘worrying’ and questioned the logic behind some of their recent signings – including free transfers Willian and David Luiz, calling them ‘quick fixes’. 

Paul Merson has taken a swipe at Arsenal’s transfer policy under technical director Edu (R), claiming it has ‘left Mikel Arteta (R) behind’

The Arsenal icon questioned club’s direction after a poor start to the Premier League season

‘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.’

Merson also criticised the club for sanctioning the sale of midfielder Joe Willock to Newcastle, and questioned why they were willing to sell talented stars for modest amounts but pay top wages for players at the end of their careers. 

‘Why would you let Joe Willock go? I’m not saying he’s the answer, but he’s come through the club and is going for £25m, that sort of money isn’t going to change Arsenal,’ he added. ‘It’s not like a Harry Kane or Jack Grealish sale where you get £100m and can rebuild the team. 

He said their recent transfer business had been ‘lazy’ after signing Willian (L) and David Luiz (R) on free transfers in recent years

Pressure is mounting on Edu as he bids to rebuild the club and turn their fortunes around

‘But Arsenal are prepared to pay Willian big money. Where is the future in that? It’s quick fixes. Surely Willock is a future player and for the present, and can be involved in the plan. My question to Edu would be: “What’s the plan?”‘

Arteta has become one of the early favourites for the sack after the nature of Arsenal’s opening day loss to Brentford, but Merson was not left surprised by the performance, calling it ‘predictable’ and said supporters had to accept that the glory days under Arsene Wenger were long gone.

He believes the Gunners were ‘outfought and outthought’ by the inexperienced Bees and was left baffled by their lack of organisation and gameplan. 

The Gunners were roundly criticised for their dismal 2-0 loss to Brentford on the opening day

‘I think we got spoiled with Arsenal 20 years ago,’ the former midfielder said. ‘Those days are gone. 2004 is gone. We’re all still living in the past with Arsenal. But look where they are – this is Arsenal, now.

‘I thought Friday was very predictable. There was no change. You could see what was happening, but it didn’t feel like Arsenal knew what was happening – that was the most worrying thing for me.

Brentford did their homework. They had a Plan A and a Plan B. They got the ball up to Ivan Toney, who caused havoc. Ben White has got a load of stick, but I think it should have been nipped in the bud from source.  

‘I just thought Arsenal got outfought, outthought, everything. I don’t even think Brentford were mind-blowing, and I think they’ll play better this season!’

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