Paul Merson: Arsenal must do this in January or forget the title

Paul Merson makes a blunt claim about Arsenal's title hopes this season

Paul Merson has told Arsene Wenger that he must buy a quality defensive midfielder in the January transfer window if Arsenal are to win their first Premier League title since 2004 this season.

The Gunners suffered a serious blow last weekend with the news that Francis Coquelin is set to be out of action for at least 12 weeks.

Arsene Wenger has to buy a proper, top-class defensive midfielder

Paul Merson

Coquelin has been a regular fixture in the north London side’s first team this season since making the Arsenal holding midfield position his own in recent months.

Arsenal have the likes of Mathieu Flamini as possible replacements for the French midfielder in the coming months, but former Gunners Merson has made it clear that he feels the duo are not good enough to help their side sustain a title challenge.

Merson wrote in his column for the Daily Star: “I said weeks ago the one player Arsenal cannot afford to be without is Francis Coquelin, and that was proved when they lost at West Brom.

“Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini can’t do it. They are nowhere near good enough any more. Without Coquelin there is no-one to win the ball back.

“Arsene Wenger has to buy a proper, top-class defensive midfielder in January now or they can kiss the title goodbye.

“In previous seasons an injury to a player like Coquelin would have been the difference between Arsenal finishing in the top four or not.

“But this season it’s the difference between them winning the title or not, because they have a chance this year. Chelsea are nowhere and Manchester United have problems.

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“Manchester City are their only serious rivals but they have been losing games. Arsenal have to go for it. They have to.

“The only thing that could knock them off course is if they end up in the Europa League. If that happens there’s no way they win the league.”

Arsenal head into Sunday’s trip to Norwich City looking to bounce back from the disappointment of their 2-1 loss to West Brom last weekend.

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