According to Paul Merson, Manchester United and Manchester City made a major transfer error by not signing Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid. Arsenal completed the deadline day signing of Partey for £45m, bringing an end to one of the most drawn-out transfer sagas of the summer.
Speaking on the move, Merson told the Daily Star:
“I like where Arsenal are going on the pitch. Mikel Arteta is doing really well. And Partey is an unbelievable signing. I don’t know why Manchester United or even Manchester City didn’t go for him. He’s better than what they’ve got.'
Merson also weighed in issues affecting the club off-field and touched on the recent layoff of the Arsenal mascot Gunnersaurus. "I don’t like what is happening at Arsenal at all sometimes. It’s not the club I remember,” he said.
Jerry Guy acted as the Arsenal mascot for 27 years but was told his services are no longer required, which came as part of the large-scale layoffs experienced by backroom staff at the Emirates. Speaking on the issue, Merson said:
''The guy’s been an Arsenal fan all his life. He’s one of their own. He’s worn the suit since day one. To tell him you don’t need him and he’s out, just like that, it isn’t right in my opinion. They’ve made all these low-paid people redundant and asked the players to take a pay cut but they’re still spending big money, aren’t they? I hope they bring him back like they say they will because they never should have done this in the first place. It’s wrong.”
Out-of-favour midfielder Mesut Ozil recently offered to cover costs of the mascot's payment for as long as he remains an Arsenal player, but it remains to be seen if the club will accept his offer.
What does the future hold for Arsenal?
After several years of stagnation, the Gunners finally achieved some semblance of progress under the management of Mikel Arteta.
The former Arsenal star was appointed manager in January, and guided the club to an FA Cup and Community Shield triumph in his first eight months in charge.
There have also been very impressive victories over established managers like Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, while the soft underbelly that used to plague the club has also been relatively rectified.
The 38-year-old would have been pleased with the club's transfer business this summer and despite not getting all his transfer targets, the club still strengthened significantly.Published 10 Oct 2020, 19:46 IST