Former Arsenal midfielder John Merson believes that Arsene Wenger should have taken that extra step and made a £75m ($114m) bid for Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema this summer. The former player adds that their summer inactivity is an insult to the fans who pay every season to watch them play at the Emirates.
Arsenal are the only team in Europe's top five leagues to have not signed a single outfield player this season. Their only acquisition thus far has been the transfer of Petr Cech from Chelsea, who showed his pedigree with a series of brilliant saves against Liverpool at the Emirates, to gain the Gunners a crucial point.
The north London club were in the market for a striker and made advances for Benzema till the very last minute of transfer deadline day but the Frenchman refused to budge from his stance and preferred to stay in Madrid for at least another season. However, with Danny Welbeck ruled out for months after a knee surgery, Merson believes there should have been more drive in Arsenal's attempt to secure the signing in a bid to come back to title winning ways.
Manchester United were also interested in signing the striker as was confirmed by Madrid president Florentino Perez. "If you're an Arsenal season ticket holder, you're paying top dollar. It's their money. It's the fans' money. It's not Arsene Wenger's money. It's not the club's money. It's the fans' money that they've paid to buy players," Merson told Sky Sports.
"The whole idea of going to this big stadium that holds 60,000 people was to bring in top quality players. I don't know [why Arsenal aren't spending the money].
"Just put in a bid for Benzema. £75m ($114m). If Real Madrid turn around and say 'we're not selling him', you can't argue with that. You've put in a bid and if they turn it down or the lad doesn't want to come, that's the way it goes. But show something."
Merson went on to add that the Gunners will have another disappointing season when they play brilliant football for a certain period and then trail away, allowing the other challengers to make a comeback. The Gunners finished last season in third spot and won the FA Cup for the second year in succession.
"I can tell you now, there will be a phase this season when they'll be unbelievable, win seven on the trot and play the best football you've ever seen. But at the end of the season, with this team and no signings, I'd be absolutely shocked if they won the Premier League," the former midfielder concluded.