Paul Merson says Arsenal’s squad was ‘not strong enough’ to win the Premier League and believes a Chelsea flop could help change that this summer.
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Arsenal led the Premier League title race for the majority of the season, sitting top of the table for 248 days.
The Gunners were chasing a first league title since 2004 after finishing just fifth last term under Mikel Arteta.
Arsenal appeared to be on the verge of history but a late collapse allowed Manchester City to overhaul their eight-point deficit and win a third successive Premier League title.
Arteta’s side took 50 points from the first-half of the 2022-23 campaign but their form fell away drastically in April and May, with Arsenal surrendering two-goals leads to draw with Liverpool and West Ham.
The Gunners needed two late goals to rescue a point against bottom-placed Southampton, before they were beaten by Manchester City, Brighton and Nottingham Forest.
Merson has described Arsenal’s squad as ‘bare’ and says his former club need to bring in some ‘top quality players’ this summer to mount another title challenge next season.
He is a huge admirer of Gabriel Jesus – hailing the Brazilian as a ‘brilliant signing’ – but believes Arsenal would benefit from signing another striker and named Chelsea flop Romelu Lukaku as a surprise possible target.
Lukaku endured a miserable season at Stamford Bridge after re-joining the Blues in the summer of 2021 and has spent this term on loan at ex-club Inter Milan.
The 30-year-old is set to return to Chelsea this summer but both the club and the player are keen to cut ties, with Lukaku hoping to secure a permanent transfer to Champions League finalists Inter.
‘Arsenal need a centre forward,’ Merson told GiveMeSport. ‘They need someone who is going to get them 25 goals a season.
‘I’m not having a go at Gabriel Jesus. He’s a very good player and he’s been a brilliant signing. But he’s not going to get you the goals you need on his own.
‘The other day against Brighton, I don’t remember him ever looking like scoring. Jesus can play anywhere. So if you buy a striker he could still get in the team. He could play with a striker.
‘Arsenal’s squad is bare. It wasn’t strong enough to win the league. They need to buy players. Top quality players.
‘Manchester City are head and shoulders above everybody. So you need to get stronger just to compete.
‘Ivan Toney would have suited Arsenal, but that won’t happen now because of his ban.
‘Romelu Lukaku might be available. The 30-year-old is an out-and-out centre-forward. He will stay up front and back into players. That might help Arsenal.’
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