Merson urges Chelsea to sell problem defender and sign Arsenal target

Date published: Tuesday 28th July 2020 2:57 - James Marshment

Paul Merson TEAMtalk

Paul Merson believes Frank Lampard should strengthen Chelsea’s defence by signing John Stones this summer.

The Manchester City centre-half is likely to be made available this summer after losing Pep Guardiola’s trust. Our exclusive earlier this year revealed Arsenal were readying an approach.

However, it’s been reported Lampard and the club’s recruitment team have also discussed a move for the England man.

The Blues boss is looking for a new centre-back this summer with Antonio Rudiger likely to be made available for transfer.

Despite finishing fourth and reaching the FA Cup final, Lampard knows he needs to reinforce his defence.

And Merson thinks a swoop for Stones makes plenty of sense.

“I’d go and get John Stones for that, and play him in the middle of the three. Then I’d say have Antonio Rudiger and [Andreas] Christensen either side of them,” Merson told Sky Sports.

“Chelsea love to play out the back, they roll it out every time. If you play that way you need someone unbelievably good on the ball.

“If you have pace around them, I think it will help Chelsea; I think Stones would be a great buy, and he has to play in a three.


“Stones has the potential to be great, he really has, but he needs the confidence.

“At the moment Chelsea have three centre-halves that aren’t in the same class as Stones on the ball.”


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Merson wants Marcos Alonso replaced

Merson also believes Chelsea need to recruit a better left-back with Marcos Alonso an obvious ‘problem’. Leicester’s Ben Chilwell has been strongly linked.

Discussing their transfer needs and Alonso’s future, Merson added: “heir priority has to be getting a centre-half and a left-back. 100 per cent.

“It tells you everything that they have to play three at the back, Frank Lampard doesn’t trust the centre-backs.

“They’ve bought well so far up front, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech are major signings. But don’t end up like Arsenal, where everyone is crying out and can see what they need.

Marcos Alonso

“How many years did we say Arsene Wenger needs a centre-half, but he never went and got one?

“Marcos Alonso for me needs replacing; he gets vital goals but he’s not a natural defender.

“That doesn’t help the back three because centre-halves have to come out of their comfort zone and come out of the line of the box to defend on the wings. Alonso causes that problem.

“Cesar Azpilicueta is a great pro, but he’s getting on now. Kurt Zouma has a mistake in him.

“Chelsea don’t have a naturally-gifted centre-half who can put his foot on the ball and play.”


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