Premier League • England

Arsenal ready to sell January signing THIS summer as Paul Merson reveals shock plan behind ‘phenomenal’ player

Paul Merson, former Arsenal star and Sky Sports pundit

Paul Merson, former Arsenal star and Sky Sports pundit

Paul Merson reckons one recent Arsenal signing’s time at Emirates Stadium will only prove a brief one, having tipped the Gunners to cash in on the star during the summer window.

The Gunners sit top of the Premier League and are dreaming of their first domestic league title in 19 years. Indeed, with every game like a cup final to them, Mikel Arteta’s side will need to be at their best to hold Manchester City at bay.

Indeed, Pep Guardiola’s side are dab hands at winning titles and are chasing a fifth crown in six years. As such, Arsenal will have to be at their absolute best to ensure they don’t slip up during the run-in.

To maximise their prospects in the January window, Arsenal made three signings to strengthen their spine. First up, the Gunners brought in Leandro Trossard from Brighton to give their attack some additional teeth.

The Belgian has quickly made his impact felt with one goal and two assists in seven appearances so far.

Jakub Kiwior was also brought in from Spezia, though the the 23-year-old is yet to feature. His chance could come when the Europa League resumes this week against Sporting Lisbon.

And finally, the Gunners also brought in Jorginho from Chelsea to bolster their midfield options. Arteta was keen to bring in cover and competition for Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka, with the pair excellent all season.

They initially looked at signing Leicester’s Youri Tielemans. However, the player’s wage demands reportedly left Edu flabbergasted and the Gunners instead looked elsewhere.

That led them to pursuing Moises Caicedo. And while the player was determined to move, Brighton stood firm and rejected Arsenal’s £70m offer.

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Paul Merson explains why Arsenal could sell Jorginho

The capture of Jorginho, though, was certainly a shewd one for Arsenal in the circumstances.

He has the experience and know-how required in the pursuit of titles, with his £13m move from Chelsea already benefitting them.

However, despite hailing his signing as a masterstroke, Merson reckons the Italy midfielder’s stay at Emirates will only be brief.

“The Jorginho signing has been an absolute masterstroke from Arsenal. They have played an absolute blinder and I have said it all along. He has been integral to all of their last three wins and it came just at the right time after Thomas Partey was struggling with a muscle injury,” Merson wrote for the Daily Star.

“Edu also deserves massive credit for what’s going on at Arsenal. He and Mikel Arteta are the brains behind their transformation. You can just picture them sitting around tables at London Colney racking their brains together.

“You only have to look at the January transfer window. I thought Jorginho was going to be a phenomenal signing and that’s exactly what has transpired. It was just so clever in every way imaginable.

“He might not even be there next season, I wouldn’t be surprised if he left this summer but it doesn’t matter. It’s just the way Arsenal are thinking, they’re doing everything they can to maximise their chances of success.”

Merson impressed by Trossard impact

Merson says Trossard has also been an excellent piece of business by Arsenal. And he reckons the Gunners pair deserve real credit for their transfer dealings which give them a chance of winning the title.

“With the exception of Albert Sambi Lokonga, what signing have they made that hasn’t been successful? Leandro Trossard looks like another sublime piece of business, you’d think he was an Arsenal player anyway on the basis of how he’s settled at the club,’ Merson added.

“He’s stepped in and done a great job and even when Gabriel Jesus returns, Trossard can play where Gabriel Martinelli plays. They have so many options.

“It’s a snip at just £27million. Trossard could play for Manchester City in my book, he’s that talented.”

Addressing their title credentials, Merson has picked out what could prove the watershed moment in their season.

Trailing 2-1 at Aston Villa last month, Arsenal fought back to record a dramatic 4-2 victory, with two goals netted in injury time.

“I think the Aston Villa game was the key moment for Arsenal – it was the match that displayed their title credentials,” he concluded.

Arsenal face Bournemouth on Saturday before travelling to Portugal to face Sporting. Then follows a tricky game at London neighbours Fulham, with the match likely to be another strong test of their title prospects.

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