Paul Merson sees football differently to most of us.
Remember when he suggested Hull hire a British manager and then named France’s all-time top scorer Thierry Henry as an example?
In January of this year he recommended West Ham sell Dimitri Payet for £30million and sign Anthony Martial for £20million — that’s the same Anthony Martial who cost Man United £36m up front in the summer of 2015.
Then there’s his classic analysis of Yaya Toure.
When Man City signed the towering Ivorian back in 2010, Merson gave this verdict…
Now the former England international has reached an unfathomable new peak with an unconventional theory on Arsenal’s Europa League campaign.
Writing for Sky Sports, Merson mused: “People talk about Arsenal in the Europa League, maybe suggesting they won’t bother trying in it, but Arsene Wenger still has to fly out somewhere on the Wednesday, won’t get back until the Friday. It is still tiring.
“Therefore, I would tell Steve Bould to be in charge of the Europa team, and Wenger could work at home with the Premier League team.”
Merson reckons Wenger shouldn’t even bother managing Arsenal in Europe this season.
The suggestion that managing a side in Europe is too ‘tiring’ for Wenger seems a touch condescending.
The Gunners’ boss has proved his resilience and longevity more than most — we’re sure a few nights in some of Europe’s most luxurious hotels wouldn’t cause him too much distress.
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Merson’s suggestion also devalues the Europa League as a competition.
The competitiveness of the Europe’s secondary club competition has steadily risen in the last two years — aided by eye-catching campaigns from Ajax, Man United, Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund and Sevilla.
Arsenal are among the favourites to lift this season’s Europa League trophy and they should certainly aim to do so.
Thankfully, Merson’s suggestion is likely to fall on deaf ears.
We will most definitely be seeing Wenger on the touchlines in the Europa League this coming season.
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