Arsenal

Arsenal TT Roundup: Emmanuel Petit tips Unai Emery replacements as Patrick Vieira defends Granit Xhaka and club is linked with Dries Mertens

In this instalment of our TT Roundup, Football Transfer Tavern have gathered three of the biggest stories to have involved Arsenal recently and have provided our thoughts on the reports published.

Petit tips former Gunners to replace Emery

Former midfielder Emmanuel Petit believes Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry would make suitable replacements for Unai Emery as Arsenal manager.

Emery was given backing by the club’s board earlier this week, but Petit, speaking to Paddy Power (via Metro), dismissed those claims as ‘not true at all’.

Petit said that he would like to see a former player in the dugout should the Gunners part with their beleaguered boss.

Verdict

Whether Petit would really think a former player would benefit Arsenal remains to be seen. As nice as it may be for him, both Vieira and Henry – particularly the latter – would arrive with little managerial experience, though Vieira has at least plied his trade in the top flights of the United States and France.

Alternatively, Petit could yet get his wish if Arsenal were to recruit from within, with Freddie Ljungberg joining the senior Arsenal setup behind Emery this season.

But the Frenchman hardly put a convincing case forward for his compatriots – and merely represents a dream scenario for him, personally.

Arsenal and Spurs both interested in Mertens

According to Il Mattino (via Metro), Arsenal and Spurs are among those interested in bringing Dries Mertens in from Napoli.

Mertens’ current deal with the Italian club is set to expire in the summer and reports suggest that the North London duo are keeping tabs on his situation in Naples.

The report also claims that the likes of Juventus and AC Milan are also looking at the Belgium international.

Verdict

At 32, you may expect Mertens’ career to be in decline, though while his numbers decrease, he has nevertheless notched at least 16 times for Napoli in each of the last three seasons.

Mertens has taken up more of a central role of late, despite plenty of experience on the wings, though an approach from Arsenal for a striker would surely ignite suspicions over the futures of their current ones – which may not exactly be ideal following recent reports surrounding Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

However, the Gunners may feel that potentially grabbing the Belgian on the cheap in the summer would be too good an opportunity to pass up.

Vieira defends under-fire Xhaka

Patrick Vieira has launched a passionate defence of former Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka after the Swiss midfielder was stripped of the armband by the club.

Vieira claimed (The Guardian via SNTV) that he felt sorry for the player, arguing that he deserves respect for his service to the team.

Xhaka has not played for the Gunners since gesturing towards the fans after being substituted in their draw against Crystal Palace in late October.

Verdict

A former skipper himself, Vieira will know all too well the responsibilities that come along with being the captain of Arsenal.

He will have been in Xhaka’s shoes plenty of times, though his calls for the Swiss international to bounce back may go unheard if he is not reinstalled to the team, with links to a January departure surfacing in recent weeks.

That said, Xhaka will surely be lifted by the support of one of his most successful predecessors as Arsenal captain.

Is Granit Xhaka finished at Arsenal?

Yes

Yes

No

No

Arsenal fans, would you welcome an approach for Mertens? Would Vieira and Henry suit the club as manager? Let us know what you think below!

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Arsenal TT Roundup: Emmanuel Petit tips Unai Emery replacements as Patrick Vieira defends Granit Xhaka and club is linked with Dries Mertens
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