Paul Merson reveals what will cost Arsenal place in the Champions League

The Arsenal legend explains why Arsene Wenger's side won't finish in the Premier League's top four this term

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger Photo: The Sport Review

Paul Merson believes Arsenal’s failure to strengthen their defence will cost the Gunners a place in the Premier League’s top four.

The north London side were busy in the January transfer window with a number of new signings and some high-profile departures at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal signed Henrikh Mkhitaryan in a swap deal that saw Chile international Alexis Sanchez complete a move to Manchester United.

The Gunners spent a club record £56m transfer fee on Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on transfer deadline day to improve their attacking options.

Greek defender Konstantinos Mavropanos moved to Arsenal in a £1.8m deal that went under the radar in the January transfer window.

Arsene Wenger sanctioned the sale of Theo Walcott, Francis Coquelin and Olivier Giroud to revamp his squad following a disappointing 2017-18 season so far.

Arsenal failed to sign a top-class defender despite conceding 34 goals in 25 games in the Premier League this term.

Former Gunners star Merson believes Wenger’s defence will ultimately cost them a top-four spot and a return to the Champions League.

“Arsenal will be Arsenal,” Merson told Sky Sports.

“One week we’ll be lavishing them with praise for their attacking football but there will always be results like Bournemouth and Swansea around the corner.

“We’ve never questioned them going forward but in this window they’ve improved their attack with the acquisitions of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but they haven’t improved at the back and that will be their problem until the end of the season.”

Arsenal could still qualify for the Champions League if Wenger’s side manage to win the Europa League this season.

The Gunners lost 3-1 to Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium on Tuesday night.

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