Carragher warns Arteta’s Arsenal of Pochettino ‘danger’; £100m striker to curb ‘afterthought’ worry

Will Ford
Carragher Arteta Pochettino
Carragher reckons Arteta's Arsenal are 'in danger' of becoming Pochettino's Spurs.

Jamie Carragher reckons Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal are ‘in danger’ of becoming like Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs – no more than an ‘afterthought’ as the nearly men of football.

The Gunners limped out of the Champions League on Wednesday with a whimper, offering little having gone behind to Joshua Kimmich’s goal early in the second half at the Allianz Arena.

‘The brutal reality’ for Arsenal

That followed a comprehensive defeat to Aston Villa in the Premier League which leaves them two points behind Manchester City, who stormed past them to claim the title last season.

Arsenal still have Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United to play in their last six games, and most believe they will need a perfect record from now until the end of the season to prevent City winning it again.

And Carragher says Arteta’s Arsenal are starting to remind him of Spurs under Pochettino, who came close to winning the Premier League and Champions League in his time in north London, but left the club potless.

Arteta already has an FA Cup in the bag at Arsenal, but that will feel like scant reward for a ‘project’ that’s been inarguably successful but is yet to lead to one of the really big trophies.

Carragher wrote in the Telegraph: ‘Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal are in danger of becoming Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs; a side to be admired for nearly being great.

‘The brutal reality is any Arsenal team that does not win one or more of the biggest prizes will never be more than an afterthought, and will be spoken about in almost patronising terms when compared to double winners or ‘invincibles’.’

‘What next for the Arteta project?’

The Liverpool legend says Wolves on Saturday has now become ‘one of the biggest tests of the year’ for Arteta and his players as three defeats in a week would effectively end their hopes of a trophy, at which point Carragher claims we would have to wonder: ‘What next for the Arteta project?’

‘We talk a lot about taking the ‘next step’ in football, and generally mean moving forward,’ Carragher added. ‘The next step is more often than not backwards. Spurs managed to get so far between 2015-2019 before it unravelled without a trophy. No matter how much promise there is, the windows of opportunity close quickly.’

Carragher believes the logical next step for Arsenal would be for them to sign a player of Declan Rice’s calibre in attack.

He added:

‘They are the top scorers in the top division, but have been goalless in five league games, and were unable to find a way through in the Allianz Arena in midweek. A superstar striker could have found the goals in the two legs against Bayern, or collected the extra five or six points which would mean it is Arsenal, not Manchester City, in the ascendancy heading towards the final straight. In the eleven games in all competitions Arsenal have gone 1-0 down this season, they have lost eight.

‘Without significant sales, do Arsenal have the money left to make that kind of purchase before next season? My suspicion is they have been worried about the profit and sustainability rules in the last few transfer windows and took a calculated gamble in completing the Rice deal, seeing him as a possible game-changer. The fact that keeper David Raya was only signed on loan with a view to making the move permanent this summer demonstrated a juggling of resources.

‘Whether Arsenal win the title or not, big decisions are needed to ensure Arteta can give his squad the necessary injection of class to continue competing with City next season, without offloading too many of those who brought the team so far.’

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