Paul Merson's views on Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez will make your head hurt
Paul Merson has completely changed his tune about Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, and their importance to Arsenal.
Which is fine, as people change their minds, and opinions change. But even for Merson, this is quite something. Just over two weeks ago, after Arsenal had recorded victories over Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates and away to Burnley, Merson tipped them to qualify for the Champions League - but on one condition.
The Sky Sports pundit said that Arsene Wenger must keep hold of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil if Arsenal are to stand any chance of returning to the elite stage of European competition.
Both players are out of contract at the end of the season, and appear unlikely to sign new deals. Sanchez has been linked with a January transfer to Manchester City, and Manchester United are reportedly interested in Ozil. However, Merson said that the Gunners need to resist any offers in January for the players, as Arsenal's top four hopes depend on them staying.
On November 28, Merson predicted a top four of Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal. He said:
"I think Arsenal will make the top four, but only if Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil both stay in January. But if they do not, then that top-four order will change again as I would not give them a hope of making the top four."
Fast forward two weeks, and Arsenal have yet to win a league game in December. Manchester United managed to beat them 3-1 at the Emirates, they recorded a 1-1 draw with Southampton and could only manage a goalless draw with West Ham United on Wednesday night. Following those results, Merson wants his former team to let Ozil and Sanchez leave because "they are doing nothing."
"Nothing has changed at Arsenal," Merson said ahead of Arsenal's match with Newcastle United.
"We are 17 games into the season and they are below Burnley. That is embarrassing. You can understand after five or six games, if someone gets off to a flying start, but this is 17 games in. I don't know where Arsenal are going. I have said before that Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil will probably stay but now I think they have to go because they are doing nothing."
In just 16 days, Ozil and Sanchez have gone from saviours of Arsenal's season to dead wood, who need to be shipped out of the club as soon as possible. Since Merson proclaimed the importance of keeping the pair, Arsenal have dropped to seventh place in the Premier League, but they're only one point away from the top four.
Never change, Merse.