Merson slams former Arsenal target and says Arteta signed a better player


Arsenal failed to sign Moises Caicedo nearly a year ago and Paul Merson now believes the £115 million Chelsea midfielder cannot hold a candle to his fellow Premier League enforcer Declan Rice. 

With two of last season’s January targets struggling for form down the road at Stamford Bridge, Mikel Arteta could be forgiven for feeling like Neo did when he slowed down time and dodged a series of bullets.

After being pipped to the post by Chelsea for Mykhaylo Mudryk, Arsenal signed Leandro Trossard for a fraction of the fee. Mudryk has just six goal contributions for Chelsea since then, compared to Trossard’s 19. 

The Gunners also saw a £70 million bid for Moises Caicedo rejected by Brighton before turning their attention to a man who has comfortably outperformed the Ecuador international since he became the most expensive player in Premier League history (Sky Sports). 

Arsenal was looking to sign Caicedo before signing Rice

“Cole Palmer (from Manchester City) has been a really good signing, but I’m not sure there’s much else,

” Merson argues in his Sky Sports column.  

“Mykhaylo Mudryk hasn’t really got going. Caicedo doesn’t look like a £115m player.

“(Mauricio) Pochettino talks about assessing the players, but he can’t really. He’s stuck with them because most of them are on eight-year deals. He’s got Caicedo on big money on a long-term deal, but he hasn’t dominated one football match yet.

“Meanwhile, Declan Rice runs 90 per cent of the games he plays in. He has a say in the whole game, the way it is play and the way Arsenal play. Caicedo doesn’t do that.” 

Rice was the driving force behind Arsenal’s dramatic late win at Luton Town a week ago,

Powering home a stoppage-time header to cap a performance Patrick Vieira himself would have been proud of.

Caicedo, meanwhile, was little more than a frustrated spectator as Chelsea were swept aside by the similarly crisis-hit Manchester United just 24 hours later. 

As he and Enzo Fernandez struggle to live up to sky-high expectations at Stamford Bridge,

Declan Rice remains the living, breathing, tackling, sprinting posterboy of what the £100 million-plus signing should be. 

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