Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson believes that the Gunners missed a trick by not signing Gareth Barry from Everton, who in turn completed a move to West Bromwich Albion. Merson claims that the 36-year-old would have been a perfect foil for the likes of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez as he doesn't mess on the ball and would have allowed their flair players to prosper.

Barry completed his move back to the Midlands on Tuesday (15 August), leaving Merseyside after four years as he strives for regular game-time during the twilight of his career.

The former Manchester City star performed admirably well during his time at Everton but fell behind Morgan Schneiderlin, Idrissa Gueye and Tom Davies in the pecking order during the second half of last season on Merseyside.

With Davy Klaassen, Muhamed Besic and James McCarthy also vying for minutes in the Toffees' engine room, Barry's chances of regaining his regular starting spot had massively dwindled, which won't be the case with the Baggies.

Meanwhile, the north London club have signed two first team players this summer in the form of Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac with the French striker opening his account against Leicester City on the opening day of the campaign.

The Gunners have a host of midfield options to choose from, with the likes of Granit Xhaka, Aaron Ramsey and others desperate to prove a point. Jack Wilshere is also back in training after recovering from injury and will offer Arsenal another option in the middle of the park.

"A great signing [for West Brom]," Merson told Sky Sports, as quoted by the Mirror. "Why didn't Arsenal take him for a year? He gets the ball, he moves it forward quickly, he doesn't mess about. He gets the ball, he gives it the Ozil, he gives it to Sanchez.

"He's never going to go anywhere, he'll stay where he is. He keeps his shape. I think it's an unbelievable signing for West Brom."

Gareth Barry
Barry made 156 appearances during his four-year spell at Everton Getty Images