Paul Merson urges Arsenal to sign 24-year-old Premier League defender
Paul Merson says Arsenal should try to sign former Chelsea FC defender Nathan Ake from Bournemouth this summer
Paul Merson has urged Arsenal to sign Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake in the summer transfer window.
The Netherlands international has impressed for the Cherries since his move to the south coast club three-and-a-half seasons ago.
Ake initially jointed Bournemouth on loan for the 2016-17 season before Eddie Howe signed the 24-year-old in a permanent £20m deal in 2017.
The Dutch centre-half has established himself as one of the best defenders outside of the traditional top six clubs.
Ake was linked with a potential return to Chelsea FC in the January transfer window but a deal failed to materialise.
Arsenal have struggled with an injury crisis at the back this season, prompting Mikel Arteta to sign Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares on loan last month.
Former Gunners midfielder Merson believes Arsenal should look to sign Netherlands international Ake in the summer to bolster their defence.
“They need a centre half and a world-class holding midfielder,” Merson told Sky Sports, as quoted by Metro.
“I think Arsenal need to play with a back three. They’re not good enough as defenders to play as a four.
“Ake has pace and he’s played in England for a while, so if you brought him in for next season he’s not a player who will need time to get used to the league for six months.
“Arsenal need to hit the ground running [next season] and everybody needs to know their jobs in the team.”
Ake has scored 10 times in 108 games in all competitions over the past three-and-a-half seasons at Bournemouth.
The Dutch defender has played a key role in ensuring Bournemouth’s continued survival under Howe.
Bournemouth are two points above the relegation zone as they look to beat the drop.
Arsenal will return to Premier League action with a home clash against Newcastle United on Sunday afternoon.