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Name Paul Merson
Gender Male
Born 1968 03 20
Ethnic xxxx
Job xxxx Footballer
  Football Pundit
Desc If it weren’t for his off-field demons, Paul Merson might have become an even greater player. He was something of a free spirit on the field and capable of producing moments of genuine brilliance

Affiliation

Org xxxx National Team
Club as Player Arsenal FC

2015 11 28 Retrieve

[on Patrick Vieira] I was lucky enough to play with Vieira and he was top draw. Very tall and gangly but very skilful at the same time – he’d see a pass, could tackle, scored goals. There wasn’t anything he couldn’t do, and he was hard as nails as well

2016 02 04 Retrieve

[On Dennis Bergkamp] I honestly didn’t think a professional player could be that good

2016 02 05 Retrieve

[On Dennis Bergkamp] Dennis Bergkamp was the best I played with. He made the people around him look good. He sees everything

2016 02 06 Retrieve

[On Dennis Bergkamp] He’s the best I’ve ever played with by a long, long way. I can’t talk high enough of the bloke – he was absolutely phenomenal. I think he’s the greatest Arsenal player of all time. You talk to Thierry or Ian Wright and they can’t speak highly enough of the man

2016 02 07 Retrieve

[On Dennis Bergkamp] We use the phrase in football ‘he’s got eyes in the back of his head’ – Bergkamp did have eyes in the back of his head. It was scary. [. . .] Dennis saw pictures quicker than anybody

2016 02 08 Retrieve

[Paul Merson on Dennis Bergkamp’s goal vs Newcastle] If anyone meant it, he did, he was that good

2017 04 21 Retrieve

[Merson pays emotional Ehiogu tribute after sudden death of ex-Aston Villa star] To be fair, I’m still devastated. I mean, he was such a top bloke, it was unbelievable. You know what? Billy Joel sings a song about it: only the good die young

2017 06 19 Retrieve

[This is how Paul Merson honoured close friend Ugo Ehiogu] Ugo was a fantastic player, and friend, who was in the prime of his life when he died, so to lose him so unexpectedly is absolutely devastating for all who knew him. We’ve lost so many good players to heart disease recently; it just shows that it can affect anyone, no matter how young or healthy you are. By raising money for the BHF’s vital research, hopefully we can help find new ways to help stop this from happening to others

2018 08 11 Retrieve

[Paul Merson says Arsenal will struggle to win the title again in his lifetime] Now that Stan Kroenke is going to be in sole control of Arsenal, I’d be shocked if they win the title again in my lifetime. Money talks in this game and Kroenke doesn’t want to spend it, he only wants to make it. Arsene Wenger was only there for the last few years for one reason – to make the club money. Why aren’t they doing what Liverpool have done and buying star players? Are Arsenal just a team who want to finish fourth? The fans pay big money and they are tired of it. My brother is on the waiting list for a season ticket. This year is the first time the club has called to offer him one. The demand isn’t what it used to be. I don’t think it’s a good move, Kroenke taking full control. He’s taking a loan out to do it too, and while it’s not against the club, how’s he going to pay it back? Will it affect transfers? The fans are disillusioned. They are paying top dollar to try and finish fourth. There might be more protests now. It all depends on results really. If they start getting beaten heavily the fans won’t be happy – and Unai Emery has a tough start with City and Chelsea his first two matches. They like to have a say, Arsenal fans. And that’s being taken away by someone who doesn’t know football because Kroenke only knows about money

2019 05 11 Retrieve

[Was Marcelo Bielsa punished for ‘spygate’?] You’re talking about a massive club like Leeds, who have been out of the biggest league in the world for a long time. To punish their fans, that’s not right. If they found them guilty, give them a fine, but don’t punish the fans

2019 09 16 Retrieve

[Paul Merson has stated Wilfried Zaha is frustrated at Crystal Palace and it is affecting his performances on the pitch] You look at it and Zaha had one shot straight at the keeper. Every time he got the ball they fouled him. Every single time he got the ball they fouled him. It must be frustrating for him, playing at Palace and I don’t want to sound disrespectful, but he’s better than that, it seems like he has to do it all on his own

2019 12 21 Retrieve

[Paul Merson on Arteta] This is a big, big gamble putting someone that has never managed before in charge of a club the size of Arsenal. It’s all well and good saying he’s worked under Pep Guardiola, but let’s be honest, Guardiola would struggle managing this Arsenal team. Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp would struggle

2020 01 11 Retrieve

[Paul Merson opens up about his struggle with mental illness] When I see this weekend’s FA Cup games kicking off a minute later I will remember that time when things got dark and think: ‘Thank god that’s not how I feel any more.’ This time last year, I wanted to kill myself. I don’t want to kill myself any more. I don’t have those thoughts. I’m telling you this because I hope it helps someone. I was on my own, which is not the best place when you’re down. Isolating yourself, that’s where the illness wants you. On Monday, I’ll have been a year sober. I keep my life to one day at a time

2020 03 27 Retrieve

[Paul Merson has told Arsenal to move for West Ham talent Declan Rice] Chelsea have been linked with him, but I don’t know why Arsenal aren’t looking at Declan Rice. Arsenal are crying out for a holding midfield player. They don’t need a midfielder who’s going to be on the edge of the opposition box, they need a disciplined defensive midfielder, who is going to sit in front of the back four and organise the side; one who, when he gets the ball, gives it simple with 10-yard passes. It’s such a hard job and that’s why I can’t believe Arsenal aren’t going in for a player like Rice. A player like Rice can allow the attacking players to flourish and it gives the central defenders the chance to be better than what they are. I don’t care who you are in football, Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi, Alessandro Costacurta and even a Virgil van Dijk, if you’ve got people running at you left, right and centre every minute, they are going to go past you on occasions

Arsenal haven’t really had a disciplined defensive midfielder since Gilberto Silva. Everyone talks about the club never really replacing Patrick Vieira, and of course, but they never replaced Gilberto either. There are players in the current team that are meant to do that job but they don’t have the discipline to do it, and that needs addressing

2020 03 30 Retrieve

[Gunners legend Paul Merson says Fabregas did nothing wrong in leaving Arsenal] I can understand the reason Cesc Fabregas laid out as to why he left. I don’t know too many footballers who, when Barcelona and Real Madrid come calling, don’t go. Fabregas is an interesting case because he did leave Barcelona as a youngster to go to Arsenal, but he couldn’t turn it down when they came calling again. I can’t think of too many players that could turn it down. You may get a player to wait around another year, but they always end up going in the end, and I had no problem with Fabregas going when he did

He was a great servant for Arsenal, and I can understand where he was coming from when he spoke about the pressure on winning trophies and the club’s lack of recruitment. He’d given his all for the club and the reality is that he could probably see Arsenal were a team in decline, and as I said, I don’t know too many professional footballers who could turn down Barcelona. In the end, his decision was proved right. The lad’s a special player, there’s no doubt about it. Whatever football team he’d have gone to he would have improved. There are not many footballers around the world that can say they can walk into any side in the world and improve it. There are players like [Virgil] Van Dijk, Kevin de Bruyne, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo that can do it, but not many. Fabregas was a special talent and I had no qualms with how his time at Arsenal ended

2020 04 10 Retrieve

[Paul Merson says Man Utd target Sancho won’t be leaving Dortmund for £100m after coronavirus hits finances] All the talk about Jadon Sancho commanding a £100m-plus transfer fee has been blown out of the water if you ask me. Borussia Dortmund are said to be demanding in excess of that figure for one of Europe’s hottest young talents, but they can forget it. There’s no way that’s going to be happening. It’s gone – over and out. Top clubs can’t be putting staff on furlough and then start forking out that kind of money the minute the transfer window opens. It’s not just the fee, but with players in that price bracket comes a pay packet of around £300,000 a week and that’s just not going to be happening. The landscape has changed not just for everyone on the planet but for football as well. Really big-money moves may be off the table for quite some time. With the financial situation as it is, how would it look for clubs struggling to pay their staff and then transfer deadline day arrives and it flashes up on the screen that £900m or whatever has been splashed out on players? There would be uproar.

2020 04 10b Retrieve

[Paul Merson says Alexis Sanchez is capable of rediscovering his Arsenal form at Manchester United] With what’s currently going on, I can’t see a team going out and spending £100m on a player anymore. Teams are going to have to stick with what they’ve got so Manchester United keeping hold of Alexis Sanchez and bringing him back into the fold would come as no surprise. The other options would be to go and find a replacement and they would have to spend £60m or £70m to do it. I just don’t think clubs are going to do that anymore, and actually, I don’t think people care.

The clubs can’t ask the government to pay the wages of their staff and then once this has passed, and hopefully it will, go and spend £60m, £70m and even £80m on players. That’s taking the mick at the highest level! For that reason, I can understand Sanchez coming back to play a part at Old Trafford because, on his day, he is a great player. After this, people are going to appreciate things a lot more now - and that includes some of the footballers who get bundles of money and think they can just stroll through. Sanchez was one of those players, but I think he will probably now think this life goes very quickly, especially a football career. Players might start to appreciate that more and he could come back, work hard and be a success because you can’t go from being that good at Arsenal to be that bad at Manchester United, you just can’t.

It’s definitely a better United than the one he left too. They were flying before the suspension of the league. They’ve had some excellent performances and some brilliant results so that will benefit him too. He’s got to come back and appreciate he’s at one of the biggest clubs in the world, if not the biggest. There is logic in Sanchez going back at Old Trafford, he’s a top player and if they can get even half the player he was at Barcelona and Arsenal back, he’ll be an asset

2020 04 13 Retrieve

[Paul Merson telling the Arsenal skipper to stay put] It’s easy saying move to another, more ambitious club and win stuff but there are not a lot of trophies to win, especially with the two phenomenal football clubs Liverpool and Manchester City. I was very fortunate to play for Arsenal for a long time and make no mistake about it, it’s a great club. The grass is not always green on the other side, you have got to be careful. Aubameyang is at an age now where he will play every week for Arsenal. If he goes to, say, Manchester United or somewhere else, four or five bad games and you are out of the team. He’s going to play every week at Arsenal and when you are coming towards the end of your career, two or three years to go, you have got to enjoy your football and play. If I were Aubameyang’s agent I would be stressing that he is at one of the best clubs in the world, a phenomenal football club that has as much chance as anybody, bar Manchester City and Liverpool, winning something. For me, I would stay

2020 04 20 Retrieve

[Paul Merson says Jack Grealish is a special player. The former Aston Villa play maker believes the highly-rated 24-year-old doesn’t trust those around him at present, but would star in a better team] He’s a special player. He’s the best three or four-yard passer I’ve seen in the game for a long time. People will go ‘three or four-yard passes’, but you watch football when it comes back and see how many people roll the ball to a full-back and they have to take a touch or someone goes on the overlap and they kick it out of touch.

It is always a pitch perfect ball, that three or four-yard ball and for me he is a special player. Very comfortable on the ball, very gifted.

He’s an outstanding player. People look at him at the moment and big clubs are probably thinking ‘can I trust Jack Grealish, has he got a position?’ He keeps going everywhere for the ball, but I think that’s just because he’s at Aston Villa. If he went to a bigger club with better players who are on his wavelength, I think he will play a position. At the moment people are a bit worried because he’s going all over the pitch to get the ball. With better players, he would be able to hold his position and would be a massive asset for any club in the Premier League.

[Grealish is club captain and a talismanic presence for Villa] I do think he tries to take on too much because he doesn’t have trust in the players, that they are good enough, around him. If he was with better players […] I think he doesn’t trust the players and he’s trying to be the school captain at the moment and do everything. He’s keeping the ball too long but with better players, they would demand the ball off him. At Aston Villa, they let him do what he wants because, like the school captain, he can go and beat everybody and we’ll win the game

2020 04 20b Retrieve

[Paul Merson says Arsenal a million miles away in slow journey back] Even if Pep Guardiola was in charge, no. Arsene Wenger used to say all the time that it’s all about the players. Arsenal’s players – it’s not a good enough team, it’s not a good enough squad. I like Arteta, I really do. I think he’ll do better than the last manager. But at the same time, to go and challenge for the title, I think they are a million miles off. They can’t defend

[Pressed further on whether Arteta is the man to bring the good times back] I’m going to go no, if I’m being honest. I don’t know any team that has ever won anything that can’t defend. If you can’t defend, you aren’t going to win anything. You can’t keep scoring three goals every game to try and nick a point or just win a game. Until he tightens that up, they are going to be a million miles off. I think this is going to be a slow, slow journey back for Arsenal

2020 04 21 Retrieve

[Former Gunner Paul Merson says Arsenal wouldn’t win Premier League even if Guardiola was in charge] Will Arsenal be challenging for titles soon? Even if Pep Guardiola was in charge, no. Not at the moment. Arsene Wenger used to say it all the time, it’s all about the players - and for Arsenal at the moment, it’s not a good enough team, not a good enough squad. I like Mikel Arteta, I really do, and I think he’ll do better than the last manager Unai Emery, but at the same time, to challenge for the title I think they are a million miles off

They can’t defend, and if you can’t defend, you can’t challenge for titles. Is there room for much optimism? I’m going to say no, to be honest. I don’t know any team that has won anything when they can’t defend. If you can’t defend, you’re not going to win anything! It’s simple. You can’t keep scoring three goals every game to nick a point or to only just win a game, so until he tightens that up, they are going to be a million miles off. This is going to be a slow, slow journey back for Arsenal

2020 05 09 Retrieve

[Paul Merson admits Jack Grealish will ‘100 per cent’ head for the exits at Aston Villa if Dean Smith’s side are relegated] I would say 100 per cent. If Villa go down then I think they will get rid of Jack and he will be sold. He’s a Villa man through and through, he loves Aston Villa, but he will have to move on, there is no doubt about that if he wants to better himself. It’s horrible saying that, better yourself, because it’s a great club, but he will have to play in the Premier League. In this day and age, you play in the Premier League if you want to play for England. It’s very rare that you’re not playing in the Premier League or a top European league and you’re playing for England. For me, he would have to be sold

I think it probably helps Jack Grealish. I think Jack Grealish was probably a 30-70 or 35-65 against him to go, so one more good season this year […] I think he will move on and I think it will help him. But football’s a funny game. You look at players that were flying along and they were young lads, but all of a sudden they could lose form. It’s swings and roundabouts, but it’s great news for [Marcus] Rashford and [Harry] Kane, there is no doubt about that because the last thing you want to do is go to a competition and you’re not fully fit, when you’re playing against the crème de la crème of European football

2020 05 28 Retrieve

[Former Gunners midfielder Paul Merson says Mikel Arteta and Arsenal could benefit from the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic in the Premier League] I quite like it because now coaches have got to be coaches, they’ve got to make these players better. I think clubs are going to be really, really cautious in the market. For me, this is where coaches become coaches. It’s all well and good buying £80 million players all the time. Seriously, what do you need to coach an £80m player? If you’re coaching an £80m player, telling them what they need to do, he isn’t worth £80m. The good coaches will come to the fore, and those that aren’t will struggle. Some will blossom, some will not.

I think this situation helps someone like Mikel Arteta. Arsenal need such an overhaul of players that it’s actually almost impossible to get that many players in. Arsenal’s expectations will be nowhere near as high as they were a few months ago. I think he’ll now be given loads and loads of time to build. He’s young, he’s enthusiastic, and he’ll want to work with younger players. He’s not a Mourinho or Pep Guardiola, who I’d call your Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroys - they’re just dealing in majors, nothing else! Arteta is the type who might work from the ground up with lesser players

2020 05 28b Retrieve

[Paul Merson says he believes the Gunners will fare well under Mikel Arteta] Arsenal need such an overhaul of players that it’s actually almost impossible to get that many players in. Arsenal’s expectations will be nowhere near as high as they were a few months ago. I think he’ll now be given loads and loads of time to build. He’s young, he’s enthusiastic, and he’ll want to work with younger players. He’s not a Mourinho or Pep Guardiola, who I’d call your Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroys - they’re just dealing in majors, nothing else! Arteta is the type who might work from the ground up with lesser players

2020 06 12 Retrieve

[Paul Merson fears for Arsenal’s focus behind closed doors, and insists that fans keep defenders concentrated and honest] I worry for Arsenal. I watched the goals they let in against Brentford, and I worry about them playing behind closed doors. When you’re not a great defender, and Arsenal have a few of them, not top drawer defenders, I think the fans keep you honest. I mean that they keep your concentration levels. You need the fans there to keep you concentrated. One of the goals against Brentford, David Luiz tries to play out, flick it over the lad’s head, and that’s not honest. The fans try to keep you honest. I think with Arsenal that’s going to be a little bit of a problem defensively. I think they will switch off behind closed doors with no crowd, and there could be mistake after mistake. It is different. We grew up in an age of playing reserve team football at the stadium. If the first team were playing away, you’d be playing at home, at Highbury, and there would be one man and his dog there. Even though you’d psych yourself up, you still don’t get that push

If you have Robbie Williams and Elton John at Wembley in front of 100,000 people, it will be the best thing you’ve seen. They are entertainers, they fly off the adrenaline. If I said to them a week later: ‘You’re going back to Wembley, play again, but nobody is going to be there,’ how hard is that for them? To entertain in the same way without the fans there? I think this levels things out. I’ve gone from thinking Norwich were a certainty to get relegated, whereas now I’d give them a chance. I really do. Whoever can adapt, could reel off a few games on the trot. If you don’t get used to it, it’s Saturday-Wednesday-Saturday-Wednesday, you’ll soon be in trouble. You’ve got Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, a world-class centre forward who scores goals. He’s a one out of two merchant, where you get two chances and score one, there aren’t many of them in the world. There’s a lot more to come from Alexandre Lacazette, he’s a top drawer player

We talk about the defence at Arsenal, but it often comes from the front. If you’re not closing down from the front, and then the midfield aren’t’ connecting, I don’t care who is playing at the back for you. It could be [Paolo] Maldini, [Alessandro] Costacurta, [Franco] Baresi, if you’ve got players running at you left, right and centre, you’re going to leak goals. I think it’s important they play as a team, but at the moment I don’t see it at Arsenal. I know Arteta is trying to change it, but it seems like the forwards have their game, the midfielders have their game, and then we then just see what the defenders do. I think they’ve got to get back to basics, get tight at the back. We all like watching Arsenal play because you know you’re going to get action and goals at both ends. I think they need to say: ‘Right, let’s get tight, if we have to win games 1-0, we will.’ I just think they are too entertaining, it’s too open, they don’t move up the pitch as a unit or move back as a unit. It could be a few years before Arsenal reach top four again. I do believe in Arteta, I like him and I think he’ll get it right, but it’s hard as an inexperienced manager. You’ve got to be careful not just to try entertain the fans. When you’re inexperienced, you often try to entertain the fan behind the goal

2020 06 12b Retrieve

[Paul Merson says Arsenal could have Maldini & Baresi & still leak goals] You’ve got Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, a world-class centre forward who scores goals. He’s a one out of two merchant, where you get two chances and score one, there aren’t many of them in the world. There’s a lot more to come from Alexandre Lacazette, he’s a top-drawer player. We talk about the defence at Arsenal, but it often comes from the front. If you’re not closing down from the front, and then the midfield aren’t connecting, I don’t care who is playing at the back for you. It could be [Paolo] Maldini, [Alessandro] Costacurta, [Franco] Baresi, if you’ve got players running at you left, right and centre, you’re going to leak goals. I think it’s important they play as a team, but at the moment I don’t see it at Arsenal. I know Arteta is trying to change it, but it seems like the forwards have their game, the midfielders have their game, and then we then just see what the defenders do. I think they’ve got to get back to basics, get tight at the back. We all like watching Arsenal play because you know you’re going to get action and goals at both ends. I think they need to say: ‘Right, let’s get tight, if we have to win games 1-0, we will.’ I just think they are too entertaining, it’s too open, they don’t move up the pitch as a unit or move back as a unit. It could be a few years before Arsenal reach top four again. I do believe in Arteta, I like him and I think he’ll get it right, but it’s hard as an inexperienced manager. You’ve got to be careful not to just try to entertain the fans. When you’re inexperienced, you often try to entertain the fans behind the goal

I worry for Arsenal. I watched the goals they let in against Brentford, and I worry about them playing behind closed doors. When you’re not a great defender, and Arsenal have a few of them, not top-drawer defenders, I think the fans keep you honest. I mean that they keep your concentration levels. You need the fans there to keep you concentrated. One of the goals against Brentford, David Luiz tries to play out, flick it over the lad’s head, and that’s not honest. The fans try to keep you honest. I think with Arsenal that’s going to be a little bit of a problem defensively. I think they will switch off behind closed doors with no crowd, and there could be mistake after mistake

2020 06 19 Retrieve

[Former Gunners star Paul Merson says Arsenal should offer defender David Luiz a new contract - but only if he accepts reduced wages] David Luiz had a shocker at Manchester City because there were no fans in the ground, but unless he is asking for huge wages Arsenal should keep him. His contract is up and I’d be shocked now if he got another one, but if he’s not asking for a lot of money and it’s not going to break the bank, I’d keep him all day long. It all depends how much he is asking for. If he wants £100,000-a-week he won’t get that anywhere. Not in this day and age

What happened against Manchester City is not going to help him. His concentration levels are bad anyway but when you play with no crowd it’s even harder. It’s 100 per cent a big issue for him. The fans keep you honest. They keep your concentration levels up. When there’s no crowd your concentration levels dip a little and that happened with Luiz. He made mistakes and got sent off. He’s never going to cut those mistakes out, but if you’re looking at the all-round package, it could work at the right wages. He never hides. He makes a mistake and comes right back again. He came out and said it was his fault. He’s honest, and he’s never out injured. I have a lot of respect for him in that way. I like players who keep demanding the ball even when you’re losing

He’s a leader and he would be great with the younger players. The manager obviously likes him. But you don’t want to get on the wrong side of him if you’re the manager, and that’s a problem. Frank Lampard got rid of him when he was playing well at Chelsea. You’d have to sit down with him and tell him he’s not going to play every week because they have some good young players coming in like William Saliba. You’d have to make sure he’d accept that because you don’t want a bad apple in the dressing room splitting the squad. If he’s willing to do that then for me it’s a no-brainer to keep him. He makes mistakes but so will young kids coming into the team. I think he will help them. He could start doing his coaches badges there. This lad has got something. You don’t win all those league titles and trophies by making mistakes all the time

2020 06 27 Retrieve

[Arsenal’s decision to extend David Luiz’s contract is understandable] On his day, he is a proper player and there’s no grey areas, he’s black or white. You’ve seen it at Chelsea where he’s absolutely outstanding and we’ve seen him at Arsenal where he’s been atrocious. But for me, on his day, I think he’s top drawer. If he can help the centre-halves coming through and the youngsters there with his experience, because he’s won everything in the game, I don’t think it’s a bad year. I hear people saying ‘oh get rid of him, he makes mistakes’ - of course he makes mistakes, but he might be able to help other players while he’s there. The one thing I like about him is that he never goes hiding, he always keeps getting on the ball, he’s always in the thick of it and sometimes, that’s probably why he makes too many mistakes. But I can understand where Mikel Arteta is coming from

2020 06 30 Retrieve

[What is going on with Mesut Ozil?] I think Ozil is a prime example of a player who has to play in a proper team, that is going to be right up there, dominating football matches. He’s got to play in a majorly successful team

He can’t play in this Arsenal team, here’s why: he’s not going to change his game now in his 30s, and Arsenal aren’t going to change their game for him. He isn’t tracking back, chasing players, and you need him in a team where you’re getting 70 per cent of the ball each week, and he’ll play. You get players around him, let him play

We all know how Ozil plays, you give him the ball and he’ll find you. If you don’t have the ball, he won’t win it back for you for love nor money. He’s not interested when they don’t have the ball. How can you give someone £350k-a-week when we all knew that was his style of play?

If he hasn’t got the ball he’s one of the worst players in the world! I would say that. Name me a worse player in the world when their team doesn’t have the ball? I’ve never seen somebody so disinterested when they don’t have the ball, but he hurts you at the other end!

Can Arsenal form a team around him? At the moment, it’s at the stage where you can’t do that. They’re not going to change the team for him. He’ll pick up his £350,000-a-week and everything is rosy for him

They have to come to a deal with him; maybe he’ll take £200k a week somewhere else. I don’t know how this gets resolved though. Does he want to play football? If he loves football, he has to come to a deal with Arsenal, but it’s easy to say that. Nobody wants to lose £150k a week, no matter how much you earn! Who is mad enough to throw that money away, no matter who you are?

2020 07 11 Retrieve

[Paul Merson says Jose Mourinho will make Tottenham winners if they embrace his playing style] I think they’re slowly changing the way they play. When (Mauricio) Pochettino was there it was different. Mourinho’s come in and he plays a different way. But if he’d have won that game [against Bournemouth] 1-0, he would have been happy as Larry. He doesn’t want to be involved in 5-2s and 6-3s. He talks exactly the same as (Mikel) Arteta. If you’re good defensively, you’ve got much more chance of winning football matches

I think he’s just starting to put his footprint on this team and I think they are going to be very hard to beat. They’re not going to be the entertaining team, but that’s the way it is. Mourinho has won everything in the game. You don’t go into Tottenham and change your way of playing for players who have never won anything. You make sure that they play your way and you win them trophies. People go, ‘you can’t win like that anymore, winning 1-0 and 2-0’. You can, believe me. No one ever wins anything with a bad defence.

[Merson admits Mourinho has not yet reversed the decline that set in at the end of Pochettino’s reign] They were going for Premier League titles and Champions Leagues for the last two or three years, so of course they are still in decline at the moment. But with Mourinho there, he will turn it around. He will, but they have to play his way. Totenham aren’t going to be a free-flowing side. But they’ve got to trust Mourinho and have faith, because this man has won everything and they’ve won nothing

2020 07 15 Retrieve

[Mesut Ozil: What is going on with Arsenal midfielder?] I think Ozil is a prime example of a player who has to play in a proper team, that is going to be right up there, dominating football matches. He’s got to play in a majorly successful team. He can’t play in this Arsenal team, here’s why: he’s not going to change his game now in his 30s, and Arsenal aren’t going to change their game for him. He isn’t tracking back, chasing players, and you need him in a team where you’re getting 70 per cent of the ball each week, and he’ll play. You get players around him, let him play. We all know how Ozil plays, you give him the ball and he’ll find you. If you don’t have the ball, he won’t win it back for you for love nor money. He’s not interested when they don’t have the ball. How can you give someone £350k-a-week when we all knew that was his style of play? If he hasn’t got the ball he’s one of the worst players in the world! I would say that. Name me a worse player in the world when their team doesn’t have the ball? I’ve never seen somebody so disinterested when they don’t have the ball, but he hurts you at the other end!