Arsenal were wrong to hang onto Alexis Sanchez and not invest further, according to former Gunner, Paul Merson.
Merson was speaking to Sky Sports about the Gunners’ business throughout the transfer window, with the deadline passing and the window now closed. He didn’t seem particularly impressed with business Arsenal have done, but seemed even less pleased with the transfers they haven’t made.
Merson told Sky Sports: “Arsenal haven’t done enough in this window.
“They’ve bought a centre-forward when they already had one. They needed to buy defenders and they haven’t done it. As we saw against Liverpool the other day, they just aren’t good enough.
“I’d have sold Alexis Sanchez all day long. I doubt they’ll get in the top four and they’ll lose the £50m they would have got for him when he leaves for free. I think £35m for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is good money, but if they’re letting him go then why not let Sanchez go as well?”
The first comment on centre-forwards is classic punditry when it comes to Arsenal.
I can’t think of a single pundit who hasn’t at some point said that Arsenal need a ’30 goals a season’ striker, but when Arsenal actually go and buy that striker, the pundits respond “they already had one”.
Also, Arsenal did sign a defender, Sead Kolašinac, but I can see where Merson is coming from on this one. With Bramall, Jenkinson, Gabriel and Gibbs all departing, the net effect on the Arsenal defence is that they have fewer options than before, even with Chambers’ return from loan.
When it comes to Alexis, again Merson does have a point. If Arsenal don’t make top four, and don’t win anything else either, then it seems there was very little point keeping him for an extra season. But it’s a risk Arsenal clearly felt they needed to take.
The pressure is on Alexis and the club to show that the gamble was worth it.