Paul Merson has said he would be shocked if Arsenal mount a title challenge next season.

  • Merson believes Arsenal are still short in defence and midfield
  • He doesn’t think Arsenal will resist £50m for Alexis
  • He thinks Lacazette will be a good signing

Former Arsenal player and current Sky pundit Paul Merson has already rubbished Arsenal’s title chances this season.

Despite pre-season only just beginning and transfer business still being conducted, Merson thinks Arsenal’s squad is too short to mount a serious title challenge.

“I will be shocked if there will be a title challenge in my opinion,” he said to talkSPORT.

“I think they are still short, I don’t think they’ll dominate games in midfield and they are not rock solid at the back, so for me that is the worry.

“Going forward I never have a worry because they make loads and loads of chances, at least they are dipping in their pockets and buying a better quality of player.”

Merson didn’t say why he thought Arsenal’s wouldn’t control games in midfield, nor did he specify what type of games.

Arsenal tend to control most games in midfield, as they did against Chelsea in last season’s FA Cup final.

With the summer transfer window still open, Arsenal also still have time to strengthen their squad.

In fact, until we know the final squads of Arsenal and the competition, nobody can claim with confidence who and who will not challenge for the title.

Merson went on to say that he expects Alexis Sanchez to leave the club.

“The thing with Sanchez is that I just don’t see Arsenal swallowing £50million and saying ‘stay until the end of the season’.

“You know what Arsenal are like and I just don’t see [how] they will be able to turn down £50million. It will be interesting to see what they do, but at the moment he is an Arsenal player.”

At the moment, whether Arsenal would accept £50m is entirely hypothetical, as no bid has been made for the Chilean.

Merson did, at least, seem happy about Arsenal’s signing of Lacazette.

“Lacazette is a goalscorer.

“He will suit Arsenal’s system. They have always needed a natural goalscorer and that’s what he is. The one thing he will do is get a lot of chances and he can score a goal, so I think he will be a success.”

There won’t be many pundits who’ll think Arsenal are capable of challenging for the title. With any luck, Arsenal will prove them wrong.

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News and feature writer with a BA in Creative and Professional Writing from the University of East London. Long-time Arsenal fan also following Sevilla and local side Southend United. You can find me on Twitter @jeinchy29 talking about Arsenal and the issues affecting the English game,