Unai Emery needs to bring “nastiness” to Arsenal, says Martin Keown, who says that Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti would be a perfect signing.
The new man in charge at Emirates Stadium knows all about the Italy international after serving two-year stint at Parc des Princes.
Verratti did not always deliver on his potential during Emery’s time in the French capital, but the 25-year-old is still considered to be one of the finest enforcers in world football.
It has been suggested that he could be lured away from PSG if the right offer is tabled and Keown believes it is players of that ilk which Arsenal need to be adding to their summer shopping list.
The former Gunners defender told the Daily Mail on the changes being made in north London: “To expect that Emery will transform this team into champions overnight is unrealistic.
“Arsenal has been run Arsene Wenger's way for 22 years and, given the sheer spending power of the Manchester clubs, the competition is fierce.
“Emery inherits a side that can do damage in the final third but lacks a steeliness and a nastiness, particularly away from home. If he can restore these ingredients, then Arsenal can at least challenge in the Premier League.
“The fans want to see a team that can dig in, battle and scrap.
“Emery needs to bring in a player like Marco Verratti, who he managed at Paris Saint-Germain, to instil those qualities in midfield.”
Arsenal turned to Emery as Wenger’s successor after looking for a long time as though they would pass the managerial baton to former captain Mikel Arteta.
The Spaniard was eventually overlooked, along with a number of other fan favourites from years gone by, and Keown believes the Gunners have made the right call in avoiding an emotional appointment fuelled by nostalgia.
He added: “I would love to see a former Arsenal player in charge but appointing Patrick Vieira or Mikel Arteta would have been a huge leap of faith given neither has managed in Europe.
“[Ivan] Gazidis was also impressed by Emery's analysis of every player and I am intrigued to see how he tries to cure Arsenal's defensive ills.”