The Gunners have already bagged Gabriel Jesus, Fabio Vieira, Matt Turner and Marquinhos for a combined total of more than £90million. But Edu, the man chiefly responsible for Arsenal’s transfer dealings, allegedly let slip that manager Mikel Arteta could yet be welcoming further new faces into his exciting squad.
Merson’s tease notably comes as his former club battle with Manchester United to sign Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez, who Mirror Football understands is intent on leaving Amsterdam this summer. Speaking to Sky Sports, the Highbury hero divulged that he recently had a conversation with the Gunners’ technical director during a Sir Elton John concert at Vicarage Road.
“They are looking good. I saw Edu on Sunday and we had a little chat,” Merson began. “I can’t tell you that [what was discussed]. He [Edu] was talking to me in confidence, we were at Elton John.”
The ex-Arsenal midfielder went on to say: “I think they’ve bought well, they want to bring a couple more players in, they could have a good season Arsenal; try get into the top four, then small steps. I think top four will be the aim, they’ve bought well, got young players in the team, they’ve got another lot of games and season under the belt. I don’t think there’s many excuses for Arsenal, they’ve got a good little team at the moment.”
Continuing to praise the business which has already been done at the Emirates, Merson lauded the Gunners for getting the £45m signing of Manchester City striker Jesus over the line. Despite labelling his arrival a “major coup,” though, the Sky pundit admits that the 25-year-old Brazilian still has work do when it comes to his finishing.
“I thought it was a great signing, he’s a good player,” Merson declared. “He misses chances but I like players who get into positions – he doesn’t hide. He’s a centre-forward and likes scoring goals, they needed someone like Gabriel Jesus, [Eddie] Nketiah you need more than one centre-forward and I think Jesus ticks the box. He’s a major, major coup for Arsenal.”
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Edu promised two “marquee signings” in the closing stages of last season, as Arsenal squandered the opportunity to play Champions League football next term. While Porto midfielder Vieira cost £34.2m, Gunners fans will still be hoping that a more household name and proven Premier League star like Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans will follow Jesus to north London.
When discussing his newest recruit, Arteta gave a hint towards the kind of players that Arsenal will be looking at bringing to the Emirates before the window slams shut on September 1.
“We need to get the right balance between players in the first phase of their development, as well as those that are starting to hit the peak in their career,” the Gunners boss told his club’s website. “In Gabby’s case, for a striker it is still very early at 25, but he started really early too so all that experience is going to be very beneficial.”
Arteta also noted: “Now he has a different level of experience, he’s won a lot but he’s gone through difficult patches as well when he hasn’t played a lot of football. All that learning is very, very useful. I think this is the right next step in his career, and that’s why he’s so committed to the club now.”