Paul Merson gives honest verdict on Arsenal’s new signings

Arsenal legend Paul Merson admits the signings of Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares highlight their struggles

Paul Merson
Arsenal legend Paul Merson (Photo: Sky Sports)

Paul Merson has claimed that Arsenal’s January signings highlight the club’s inability to attract top players to The Emirates.

The Gunners brought in Spanish centre-half Pablo Mari on loan from Brazilian club Flamengo to bolster their options in the middle of Mikel Arteta’s defence.

Arsenal also secured a swoop to sign Portuguese defender Cedric Soares on loan from Southampton to help ease their injury crisis in the absences of Kieran Tierney and Sead Kolasinac.

The Gunners played out a goalless draw with Burnley at Turf Moor on Sunday afternoon to leave Arteta’s men rooted to tenth position in the Premier League table.

Arsenal are 10 points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea FC as the north London side look likely to finish outside the top four for the fourth consecutive season.

Former Gunners midfielder Merson admitted that he was underwhelmed by the north London side’s January signings.

“Arteta worked with him [Mari] at Man City and will have gone to Arsenal, worked with the defenders at Arsenal and weighed it up and thought,” Merson is quoted as saying by Metro.

“He’s played in the second division in Spain but he’s probably better than what I’ve got here”.

“The main thing is, he’s seen what he needs at the back. He has come in and brought two defenders in. ‘Will they make a difference? We will have to wait and see.

“The shame for me is that it just shows where Arsenal are. They are struggling.

“They aren’t the big fish anymore where they can go and get £50m or £60m players. They are going for players that no-one else is really after. It wasn’t like they were in a bidding war.

“The lad from Southampton, I didn’t even know he was available and if there was anyone else after him.”

Arsenal will return to Premier League action with a home clash against Newcastle United on Sunday 16 February.

Arteta will take charge of his first Europa League game when Arsenal take on Greek side Olympiacos in the first leg of their round-32 tie.

The Gunners will switch their focus back to the English top flight when they host Everton at The Emirates on Sunday 23 February.

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