Arsenal legend-turned-pundit Paul Merson has suggested that his former side should jump at the opportunity of signing Antonio Conte, if he is to leave Chelsea at the end of the current campaign.
The 48-year-old is under-pressure to perform at the west London giants following consecutive Premier League defeats, and he is being tipped to leave the reigning champions in the summer, with club owner Roman Abramovich alleged to have already lined up a replacement.
Speaking on Sky Sports show The Debate, Merson has urged his former side to consider an approach for Conte, once he is relieved from his duties at their London rivals.
He also feels that the Italian will solidify the club’s backline which has been shipping plenty of goals, especially on the road, where they have dropped 14 points from winning positions this campaign.
He said: “The day Conte leaves Chelsea, if I was Arsenal, I’d be straight on the phone. Managers like Conte don’t come along too often.
“Arsenal need someone that is going to go in there and upset people. Conte upsets people. He wants you to play a certain way and he’ll make you rock solid at the back.
“As soon as Arsenal get rock solid at the back, they’ll be a force. I think Arsenal would say: ‘we’d have you next season’. I think they’d be mad if they didn’t.”
Despite Merson’s opinion, the eventual decision is likely to made by the Gunners’ hierarchy who have stood by Wenger during times of distress over the years.
The 68-year-old has another 17 months left on his existing deal, and it is suggested that he may re-assess his position in the summer, though there is no break clause associated with his contract.
Arsenal are presently five points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, but they could pressure on their rivals this weekend with a victory at Spurs, given the Blues don’t feature in the Premier League until Monday, where they take on West Bromwich Albion.
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