Home Sport Paul Merson identifies priority Arsenal signing and believes Mikel Arteta is key

Paul Merson identifies priority Arsenal signing and believes Mikel Arteta is key

by REPUBLIKA ONLINE
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Paul Merson believes Arsenal need to sign a player who offers the club exactly what Mikel Arteta did when he was a player.

Arsenal are well on their way to finishing in the top four and securing a return to Champions League football which would make them a significantly more attractive proposition for players in the transfer market.

A striker is likely to be top of their list given Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s exit and uncertainty around Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah’s futures.

But Merson feels the club need a midfielder who can sit in front of the back four and make game-changing passes to help the attack – much like Arteta did during his time under Arsene Wenger.

‘Mikel Arteta needs a player in the same mould he was to transform Arsenal next season,’ Merson told the Daily Star.

‘I think they still need a midfield player who can sit in front of the back four and pick a pass. Arteta did that beautifully.

‘But they don’t have anyone like that any more. Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey don’t have those kind of skills; someone who’s going to get on the ball and start spraying it around.

‘Xhaka and Partey do a great job in there but they’re not going to take you to the next level. I don’t think they’ve got a genuine passer in the team; a genuine playmaker from deeper positions like that.

And if anyone can find that type of player it should be Arteta because he’s played that position himself.

‘Sometimes you have to be able to hit that diagonal ball over the top. With Arsenal, everything is short, short, short.

Martin Odegaard does a great job of that, playing one-twos and trying to slip players in.

‘But you need someone with a good passing range in behind him too. Someone who keeps it simple but can hit your forwards with a long ball or two as well.

‘Ruben Neves does it for Wolves. James Ward-Prowse does it for Southampton. I have no idea how he’s still at Saints. It must be the sea air!

Both of them take free-kicks and give you an extra dimension from set-pieces in my opinion as well.’

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