Paul Merson sends warning to Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta
Paul Merson urges Mikel Arteta to start planning for next season at Arsenal
Paul Merson believes that Mikel Arteta needs to start putting a plan in place for Arsenal next season.
The Gunners have struggled to find consistent form in the top flight this term and they currently find themselves in 11th place in the Premier League table.
Arsenal managed to string together a run of positive results over the festive period, but they have suffered another recent dip to leave them with just two wins from five their last games.
The north London side were beaten 1-0 by Aston Villa at the weekend to further dent their hopes of securing European qualification for next season.
Former Arsenal star Merson believes that Gunners boss Arteta now needs to start looking ahead to next season and get his plans in place.
Writing in his column for Sky Sports, Merson said: “I don’t like the word but Arsenal are in transition. I don’t like it because if it doesn’t go well, then what?
“I thought when Mikel Arteta first came in, he did well to get the people he didn’t want out of the club. People who were on big wages and who weren’t playing, but now he has got to be planning for next season.
“He shouldn’t be worrying if Arsenal finish 14th. He should be looking to get as many games out of Emile Smith Rowe to decide if he’s going to be playing next season.
“Nicolas Pepe is right to be getting the games now as he looks a better player than when he arrived. It’s about seeing who’s going to be right for next season.
“Arsenal don’t need another season like this. He needs to know who’s going to be there and what his team is. Now it’s about experimenting.
“With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, I feel him coming out of the team has been just a case of after some results going well, Arteta has thought he can leave out his main man. He needs to see the other players.”
Merson added: “Arsenal don’t need to be finishing in the top seven. They don’t need to be playing Thursday night football next season.
“They need to have a plan for next season, and the plan has to be that the players who aren’t there now can’t be part of those plans. They’d be playing now.”
Arsenal have not won the Premier League title since 2004, and they will return to top flight action when they take on Leeds United at The Emirates on Sunday afternoon.
The Gunners ended up in eighth place in the Premier League and won the FA Cup last term.