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'Arsenal should go for Pochettino' - Merson backs ex-Spurs boss to replace Emery

18:08 EAT 26/11/2019
Mauricio Pochettino Tottenham 2019-20
The former Gunners midfielder has urged his old club to consider appointing the coach who guided their rivals to the Champions League final last term

Arsenal should bring in Mauricio Pochettino to replace under-fire manager Unai Emery, according to Paul Merson.

Emery's position at Emirates Stadium has been questioned on a number of occasions at the start of the 2019-20 campaign, as the Gunners have only managed to pick up four wins from 13 Premier League fixtures.

Arsenal were held to a 2-2 draw by 19th-place Southampton at home on Saturday afternoon, which heaped even more pressure on Emery heading into a busy festive period.

Calls for the Spaniard to be relieved of his managerial duties have been widespread, with a number of top tacticians from across Europe linked with a high-profile post in north London.

Pochettino is the latest man being tipped to succeed Emery, having been sacked by Tottenham last week after five-and-a-half years at the club.

The Argentine took Spurs to the 2019 Champions League final and oversaw four successive top-four finishes in the Premier League, establishing himself as one of the best young coaches in England.

Despite his past ties with Arsenal's fiercest rivals, Merson thinks Pochettino is the ideal man to come in and steady the ship at the Emirates, especially given the fact that the club wouldn't need to fork out a compensation fee to secure his services.

"Arsenal should go for Mauricio Pochettino," the former Gunners midfielder told Sky Sports. "He's not won anything, but he improved Tottenham over five years, tenfold. He's a top manager and he is about at the moment.

"I know he managed at Tottenham, but George Graham had been at Arsenal when he went the other way. You've got to get past that sort of stuff. These top managers don't come along too often, where you don't even have to pay anything for them.

"Can I see it happening? No. Should it happen? Yes. But it won't happen. The days of the rivalry between Arsenal and Tottenham are not what they were. When I was growing up, it was the big football match.

"For some of these players, that's no longer the case. It's probably Chelsea or Manchester City or Liverpool. It's not the highlighted fixture anymore as there's not a lot of home-grown players in the teams.

"You don't have to pay compensation for him, and if you are going to bring someone in, he's got to be better than the manager you've got."

Merson is desperate to see a significant change made in the Arsenal dugout but thinks Emery will ultimately be granted an extended stay of execution, even if another loss is posted at Norwich on Sunday.

"I still see Emery being there for a while. They had a chance to get rid of him before the international break," he added.

"They looked at the fixtures and saw Southampton at home, Norwich away. They thought they would win both and everything would be rosy in the garden again. But they were fortunate to draw with Southampton with some of the chances they had, and they'd recently lost 9-0.

"Their confidence was low, but they never looked like they would be on to a hiding. There wasn't too much respect and they came and thought they had a chance.

"I'm a great believer in if you keep doing the same things, you get the same results. Something needs to change. The players are not that good, but at the same time, results have to be better than what they are.

"If you're a football manager and you arrive at a club, the team must improve, and the results have to improve. If they don't then you won't be in the job for long. That was a fact when I was playing, and it will be a fact in 30 years' time.

"It's worrying times, and with Norwich away this weekend, I think Emery will do well to get on the coach if they don't win that game."

Before their trip to Carrow Road this weekend, Arsenal will host Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League on Thursday, where a win will be enough to book their spot in the last 32.