Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson is demanding the club spend big in the transfer market in order to cure their recent problems.

The Gunners struck twice late on to beat Anderlecht in the Champions League on Wednesday amid an insipid performance in Belgium to claim just their fifth win of the season.

Despite having broken the bank to sign Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez in the past two summer transfer windows, Merson believes further spending on key areas of the Arsenal squad can prevent a further downturn in results.

"Arsenal have got to improve across the whole season," Merson told Sky Sports. "The Man City game at home, when they drew 2-2, was the only good thing they've done – they've really stuttered along this season and the all-round picture hasn't been good enough.

"I've worked under Arsene and I think he's top drawer. If he left Arsenal tomorrow, every football team in the world would want him in charge. I don't see that the problem is the manager, I just think they need to start spending money.

"It's like Arsene feels it's his money and his responsibility to look after the club. No, spend the money, go out and get a holding midfield player and a world-class centre-half.

"Then Arsenal will be three-quarters of the way there to being a very, very good football team."

The north London club clinched deals for Sanchez and Danny Welbeck in the summer but a return of just two wins in eight league games leaves the side 11 points behind unbeaten leaders Chelsea.

Arsenal's recent financial figures reveals the club have cash reserves of £173m ahead of the January transfer window, results which have provoked frustration among supporters with manager Arsene Wenger complaining of a lack of resources in defence.

A balancing of the club's finances since the move to The Emirates Stadium in 2006 has allowed a flurry of high-profile signings of late but there remain gaping holes in the club's squad.