'How many Arsenal players would rivals want?' - Merson concerned by lack of 'world class' talent and slide behind Spurs

The former Gunners star believes there would be few takers at an elite Premier League level if every player at the Emirates was put up for sale

Arsenal lack the “world class” stars of their Highbury era, claims Paul Merson, with there few players at Emirates Stadium who would be snapped up by top-six rivals.

The Gunners enjoyed three Premier League title successes under Arsene Wenger when turning out at a former home – including the ‘Invincibles’ campaign of 2003-04.

A move to new surroundings in 2006 was intended to make the club even more competitive on and off the field.

Instead, Arsenal have regressed, and a former star believes they have now slipped behind north London neighbours Tottenham and a number of fellow heavyweight outfits among England’s elite.

Merson told Sky Sports: “I think it’s an average team with average players.

“If they all went up for sale tomorrow, how many of the top six clubs would take them? For decent money, I don’t mean on a free transfer, for how much they were bought for. That’s worrying.

“When Arsenal played at Arsenal with 38,000 people their team was scattered with world-class players.

“Now, all of a sudden, they have gone to a 60,000 stadium – it’s all paid for and they are one of the richest clubs in the world – how many world class players have they got?

Serge Aurier Sead Kolasinac Arsenal Tottenham English Premier League 12/02/18

“If Arsenal played Tottenham in a cup final tomorrow, who is getting in each other’s team?

“I’m finding it hard to get an Arsenal player into the Tottenham team.

“How has that changed that quickly? Tottenham haven’t broke the bank for anybody.

“It’s not like Arsenal can sit there and say Tottenham have gone mad, they are spending 60, 70, 80 million on players. They haven’t done that.

“The team they got beaten by the other day [BATE], I can’t even bring myself to say they are average because they aren’t average.”

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Arsenal suffered a 1-0 defeat to Belarusian outfit BATE in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 encounter.

They will get the chance to make amends in their next outing, with a return date set to be staged at Emirates Stadium on Thursday.

Progress in that competition will be expected, while Unai Emery is also seeking to push his side up from fifth spot in the Premier League and into the Champions League places.