Mikel Arteta is turning into ‘stubborn’ Arsene Wenger over Arsenal transfer policy, Paul Merson reckons | Football

Mikel Arteta is hoping to win Arsenal’s first league title since Arsene Wenger’s Invincibles in 2004 (Photo: Getty)

Paul Merson says Mikel Arteta’s reluctance to sign a new centre-forward for Arsenal reminds him of ‘stubborn’ Arsene Wenger’s transfer policy.

After losing ground in the title race, Arsenal fans are hopeful the club will dip into the transfer market to aid their cause, but financial restrictions mean that is unlikely.

Top of the Gunners’ shortlist would be a new centre-forward, with both Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah struggling to find the back of the net.

Ivan Toney is the striker most heavily linked with the Emirates, but given Brentford’s huge asking price any move for him will have to wait until the summer.

Though the England international is out of reach, Arteta has said that he will not be signing an alternative target this window, even if his side have only scored five goals in their last seven games.

Merson has compared the Spaniard’s stubbornness to that of legendary Arsenal manager Wenger, who in the latter years of his reign was reluctant to make big transfers even if they were desperately needed.

‘In terms of their January transfer window, I’d be shocked if they went in and bought someone now. If they had plans of dipping into the transfer market, why couldn’t they have done so earlier in the month?,’ Merson told Sportskeeda.

Manchester City v Brentford FC - Premier League

Arsenal are unlikely to sign Ivan Toney in January (Photo: Getty)

‘This is why I don’t think they’ll pursue a deal for Ivan Toney – who is set to return to competitive action this week after eight months.

‘Arteta’s current situation at Arsenal reminds me of the latter part of Arsene Wenger’s stint. Everyone knew at the time that Wenger needed a central defender, but he was a bit stubborn and refused to dip into the transfer market.

‘Arteta needs a centre-forward now to give his side a welcome boost in the title race, but he has thus far remained reluctant to sign one.’

Having lost their last two league games, Arsenal have slipped to fourth in the table, five points off leaders Liverpool, meaning that victory over Crystal Palace this Saturday is essential to their title hopes.

‘I expect them to win this one 2-0, but the pressure is well and truly on for Mikel Arteta and his squad,’ Merson added.

‘Arsenal have got to win this game to stay in the Premier League title race, its as simple as that. They’d have looked at the games against West Ham United and Fulham as winnable games but somehow managed to lose both, making this one a much more difficult contest than what should be the case.’

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