Sport | 9 months ago
Paul Merson's warning for Arsenal actually makes perfect sense
He has a point...

Paul Merson doesn't always get it right.

Like, for example, when he dismissed Hull City's new manager Marco Silva, asking why the Premier League side didn't appoint a British manager -  such as former French striker Thierry Henry.

"I'm not having it! You can give me stick on that," Merse said.

"There’s enough British managers out there, come the top of my head, why not Thierry Henry? He’s done his badges, he's a legend in the game, he’s ripped up the Premier League. If he walked into Hull City he'd give them a lift."

There was also the time he gave possibly the worst football betting tip ever, or suggested Manchester United take a substantial loss on Anthony Martial, or when he questioned why Republic of Ireland midfielder Harry Arter wasn't in the England squad.

However, even a stopped clock is right twice a day, and so it goes that Merson was bound to say something sensible eventually.

The Sky Sports pundit has been speaking about Arsenal, and the implications for the club if they fail to finish in the top four this season.


The Gunners, who are currently fourth and in some turmoil after their crushing 5-1 defeat to Bayern Munich earlier this week, will become an "also-ran club for a few years," if they finish outside the top four, according to Merson.

The former Arsenal player says the club will lose their two best players, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, if they don't qualify for the Champions League.

It would also possibly see Arsene Wenger leave as manager, but, as the last few days have proved, some Arsenal fans would be happy if that happened.

"If they don't finish in the top four this season, they will just be an also-ran club for a few years," Merson told Sky Sports News.

"Sanchez will go, I don't see Ozil staying there and they have a lot of players who have been there a long time. If you keep doing the same thing, you'll get the same results.

"This is not a one-off, we've been talking about it for four or five years. If they don't finish in the top four I don't see a world-class player going to play for Arsenal next season.


"If that doesn't happen, how are they going to get in the top four next season? Man City will buy again, Man United will buy again, Chelsea will buy again.

"Maybe Tottenham won't because of their new stadium but Liverpool will buy again. All of a sudden Arsenal get left behind."

Merson's warning for Arsenal may seem like an exaggeration, but it's worth bearing in mind what happened to Liverpool and Manchester United when they dropped out of the Champions League spots.

In Rafa Benitez's last season, 2009/10, Liverpool finished seventh and wouldn't be involved in the Champions League again until the 2014/15 season.

United finished seventh in 2014, and returned to the top four the following season, but made little impact in Europe and finished fifth last season. They are currently sixth.

A period of flux occurs when a team misses out, and Arsenal have enough problems at the moment as it is.

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Premier League, Arsenal, Champions League, Paul Merson