Paul Merson has rubbished the suggestion from Arsenal fans who want Rafa Benitez to leave Newcastle United and replace Arsene Wenger.
Benitez’s side caused an upset with a 2-1 win over Wenger’s Gunners on Sunday, leading to some Arsenal fans suggesting that he was the ideal man to take over the reins at the Emirates should Wenger lose his job.
However, speaking on Talksport’s Alan Brazil Breakfast Show on Monday morning (16/04) Merson argued that the Spaniard would not be the right man for the job, boldly saying: “I like Benitez – he is one of the top managers.
“I just think Arsenal [fans] want to see entertaining football, and I know this might sound a bit silly, but they want to see teams who go out to win football matches.”
Benitez is renowned for his disciplined, conservative approach to setting up his sides, and Merson thinks that this would not sit well with an Arsenal fanbase looking for excitement.
“Benitez sort of sets his teams up – even at Liverpool – not to get beaten, and you go from there,” he said on Alan Brazil’s Breakfast Show.
“Arsenal fans are staying away at the moment because it’s not entertaining enough, and I think they will need someone with a little bit more flair.”
Following Sunday’s defeat at St. James’ Park Arsenal lie sixth in the table, just two points ahead of seventh placed Burnley.
Wenger has a year left on his current contract, but will face a performance review at the end of the season.
Football Insider verdict
Without a doubt Rafa Benitez has done a sterling job on Tyneside, and there is certainly an argument to be made that he has earned a return to the very top tier of club management, but Merson is right. Benitez is a pragmatist and organisation is the cornerstone of his success. His Newcastle side this season is distinctly average, but he has managed to steer them to safety after drilling shape and discipline into his players. There is an argument to be made that Arsenal could do with exactly that sort of thing as well, but first and foremost their fans demand the thrilling attacking football that they’ve become accustomed to. Benitez is not the man to give them it.
In other Newcastle United news, a five word statement from Rafael Benitez has made it clear what the club need to do next.