Paul Merson questions why Arsenal didn’t sign proven 30-year-old defender
The Arsenal legend is disappointed that the Gunners didn't sign Jonny Evans from West Brom in January
Paul Merson has expressed his disappointment that Arsenal didn’t sign Jonny Evans from West Brom in the January transfer window.
The Northern Ireland international has built a solid reputation during two and a half seasons at the Baggies following his move to The Hawthorns from Manchester United in the 2015 summer transfer window.
Evans was attracting interest from Premier League leaders Manchester City before the Citizens spent a club record £57m deal on Athletic Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte last month.
The Gunners were active in the transfer market after Armenia playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan arrived at The Emirates in a swap deal from Manchester United as Alexis Sanchez moved to Old Trafford.
Arsenal made Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang their most expensive signing in history when the Gunners coughed up a £56m deal from Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund on transfer deadline day.
However, the Gabon international’s arrival came less than 24 hours after Arsenal lost 3-1 to Premier League strugglers Swansea City.
Former Arsenal midfielder Merson is critical of the north London side’s failure to sign a proven centre-half to improve Arsene Wenger’s defence.
“I’ll give them an A for attacking because Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan are top, top-drawer players,” Merson told Sky Sports.
“They’ve lost Giroud but getting rid of Walcott was good business in my opinion. But they’ve brought in no defenders and they need a centre-half. How have they not got Jonny Evans out of West Brom?
“I was watching the game against Swansea thinking: ‘You’re going to pay £60m for another centre-forward when you’ve already got a £40m forward in Lacazette, who isn’t going to get a game now?’ I’ll give them a D- for defensive work.”
Arsenal are in sixth place in the Premier League table and eight points behind fourth-placed Chelsea in the race to secure a Champions League spot.