‘Arsenal are also-rans & must get Rodgers or Pochettino’ – Merson concerned by Gunners going ‘backwards’

The former attacker supports the decision to move on from Unai Emery, but admits there are a lot of issues to be addressed at Emirates Stadium

Arsenal have become “also-rans” and find themselves going “backwards”, says Paul Merson, with the Gunners urged to replace Unai Emery with either Mauricio Pochettino or Brendan Rodgers.

There has been plenty of speculation regarding who will be handed a rescue job at Emirates Stadium.

Emery has been moved out of a prominent post in north London, a matter of days after Pochettino was shown to the door at arch-rivals Tottenham.

It has been suggested that the Argentine should be considered for an immediate return to Premier League coaching at Arsenal, but he is one of several names to have been thrown into the pot.

Former Gunners star Merson believes an experienced head needs to be sought in the wake of Emery’s departure, with there a lot of work to be done by a team that have rather lost their way.

He told the Daily Star: “Arsenal should go for Mauricio Pochettino or Brendan Rodgers now they’ve finally put Unai Emery out of his misery.

“I’m all for Rodgers getting the job. He’s a proven coach. He improves players – and these players need to be improved!

“I like Nuno Espirito Santo at Wolves as well. And Pochettino is a top manager who is out of work and available. He might be tempted.

“They just have to make sure they get this appointment right because it’s a crucial decision that will decide Arsenal’s future.

“But who are the football people making that decision? Where are they are? That’s what worries me. Can you trust them?

“Emery is probably relieved. He looked lost. I don’t think he knew what he was doing. I think he had lost confidence and was making bad decisions.

“What was the blueprint he was working to? Were Arsenal a closing down team? No. A counterattacking team? No. The players didn’t know what he wanted.

“They have gone backwards. They face more shots now than they ever did under Arsene Wenger.”

Merson added on the challenges facing Arsenal and whoever they appoint: “They’ve got to get back to where they were in the next five years.

“But I don’t know if they can. Look at the players they have bought the last few years, it’s been shockingly poor. Nicolas Pepe hasn’t looked a £72m signing.

“They needed quality defenders. But they brought in David Luiz. Now, he’s a winner and was a good signing. But he’s not going to shore up your back four.

“Calum Chambers was playing for Fulham last season. As a defensive midfielder. Now he’s starting every week for Arsenal as a full-back.

“So you have to think: ‘Where is the club going?’ They are becoming also-rans. They are getting left behind.”

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