According to Paul Merson, Arsenal should have rivalled West Brom in the signing of midfielder Gareth Barry this summer.
Having joined West Brom from Everton for £1m, Barry has proved he is still capable of playing at the top level - with so much experience behind him, Barry is set to break Ryan Giggs all-time Premier League appearance record on Monday night against the Gunners.
Arsene Wenger says he wanted to sign Gareth Barry eight years ago...— Sky Bet (@SkyBet) September 21, 2017
But Merse thinks they should have signed him this summer. pic.twitter.com/Y9g0hc9iGf
Having played in 636 games in England's top flight, it was a surprise to see Everton let him go so easily - and Merson was surprised that other clubs, in particular his own former club Arsenal, did not rival the Midlands club for his signature.
Barry has settled in well to life at West Brom, proving to be a pivotal player in Tony Pulis' new-look midfield. Armed with PSG loanee Grzegorz Krychowiak, West Brom have two very experienced and talented defensive midfielders that suit the team's robust playing style.
Speaking on Sky Sports, Merson credited Barry's ability to recycle possession, saying:
Wenger recently revealed in his pre-match press conference that he attempted to sign Barry in the past. On the verge of joining Manchester City from Aston Villa in 2009, Wenger was extremely interested in acquiring the England International but missed out. Barry went on to win the league with Manchester City, adding to the list of Wenger's transfer failures.
With Jack Wilshere making his first Arsenal start mid-week against Doncaster Rovers, Wenger will be hoping that Wilshere can fill a similar role to Barry in the passing department. With Granit Xhaka also at his disposal - the Arsenal boss has the players able to execute this role but has been unable to harness the full potential of these midfielders just yet.