Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has criticised Arsene Wenger for failing to tempt Karim Benzema to the Emirates Stadium in the summer.

The Gunners made just the one signing during the off-season, with goalkeeper Petr Cech being brought in from rivals Chelsea.

Thursday afternoon's AGM meeting highlighted the funds available to Wenger to strengthen the squad, and Merson believes that this money should have been spent on luring a player of Benzema's quality.

"Why have Arsenal finished that many points behind Chelsea last season and only signed a goalkeeper? They should have gone for Karim Benzema," Merson told Sky Sports News.

"Arsene Wenger in the summer compared Olivier Giroud to Benzema, but the Real man would get more goals.

"He should have put in a bid for £70m, and if he didn't want to come then so be it, but at least Wenger could have shown his ambition to the fans. Wenger sees what players are worth and doesn't want to pay more, but modern football is clubs demanding more than a player is worth.

You don't get players for cheap anymore. "You can't have £193m in cash reserves and not use some of it to win the league.

I'm a great believer in evolving. We saw it with Manchester City after they won the league, they didn't change the team much and they fell short.

The hardest thing in the world is improving year on year, or getting to the top and staying there."

Wenger insisted earlier today that he is "not scared to spend" should the right player become available. 


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