Arsenal have signed three players so far in the summer window, but their dealings have come into focus following their opening day Premier League defeat to Brentford
Paul Merson has lashed out at Arsenal’s ‘lazy’ transfer policy under Technical Director Edu Gaspar.
The Gunners are poised to take their summer spending to £103million with the £30million capture of playmaker Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid.
But Merson fears Edu has failed to address the issues that saw Mikel Arteta’s side bullied by Brentford last weekend – with Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku set to expose them further on Sunday,
Merson said: “It’s worrying at Arsenal. Where are they going?
“Edu has come in, and the recruitment has been lazy, if I’m being honest. It’s been: ‘Oh, we’ll take Willian on a free… we’ll take David Luiz for cheap.’
“I remember years ago in football, managers were judged on signings. Sometimes I think Arteta is left behind, and I’m not sure how much of a say he has got in all of this.”
At the end of last season, Arteta outlined plans for an “unprecedented” summer revamp to get the Gunners challenging again for the top four.
But with two weeks left of the transfer window, Arsenal’s are stuck with many of the players they want to offload, including Héctor Bellerín, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Mohamed Elneny, Sead Kolasinac, Lucas Torreira, Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah and Willian.
Chelsea reject Willian has failed to repay the faith placed in him with a controversial three-year deal last summer. Both he and Willian and Kolasinac earn over £100,000-per-week. Torreira, on £75,000-a-week, tweeted a picture of himself at a Madrid theme park during the Brentford defeat.
Arsenal remain in talks with Sheffield United over a £25million deal for keeper Aaron Ramsdale. But he is expected to be second choice behind Bernd Leno white Emi Martinez, the man they allowed to leave last summer, has been excelling for Aston Villa.
The club rivalled Roma for striker Tammy Abraham – even though Arsenal still have Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette at their disposal.
A total of £73million was paid this summer for centre-half Ben White, midfielder Albert Lokonga and left-back Nuno Tavares, all aged 23 or under.
But critics believe the club have overpaid heavily for £50million White. Merson is also scathing about the decision to sell homegrown Joe Willock to Newcastle for £25million.
He added: “Why would you let Joe Willock go? I’m not saying he’s the answer, but he’s come through the club and is going for £25million.
That sort of money isn’t going to change Arsenal. It’s not like a Harry Kane or Jack Grealish sale where you get £100m and can rebuild the team.
“But Arsenal are prepared to pay Willian big money. Where is the future in that? It’s quick fixes. Surely Willock is a future player and for the present, and can be involved in the plan. My question to Edu would be: ‘What’s the plan?’
“We got spoiled with Arsenal 20 years ago. Those days are gone. 2004 is gone. We’re all still living in the past with Arsenal. But look where they are – this is Arsenal, now.”