ARSENAL would not be title contenders even if Pep Guardiola was in charge, claimed Paul Merson.
The former Gunners star insisted Mikel Arteta’s side are “a million miles” away from winning the Premier League.
Merson, 52, predicted Arsenal will not secure any silverware until Arteta sorts out his dodgy defence.
Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: “Will Arsenal be challenging for titles soon? Even if Pep Guardiola was in charge, no. Not at the moment.
“Arsene Wenger used to say it all the time – it’s about the players.
“And for Arsenal at the moment, it’s not a good enough team, not a good enough squad.
“I like Mikel Arteta, I really do, and I think he’ll do better than the last manage Unai Emery.
“But at the same time, to challenge for the title I think they are a million miles off.
“They can’t defend, and if you can’t defend, you can’t challenge for titles.”
As things stand, Arsenal are slumped at ninth in the league table with just nine wins in 28 attempts.
The Gunners have a goal difference of +4, which is the second lowest out of every team in the top ten.
Arsenal have been linked to a number of defenders ahead of the transfer window including Dayot Upamecano.
Arteta’s side look set to battle for his signature at the end of the season after he hinted he will leave RB Leipzig.
The North London club have reportedly also made contact with Reims over a £13million move for Axel Disasi.
Merson claimed Arsenal will continue to suffer unless Arteta makes serious changes at the Emirates.
He added: “Is there room for much optimism? I’m going to say no, to be honest.
“I don’t know any team that has won anything when they can’t defend.
“If you can’t defend, you’re not going to win anything. It’s simple.
“You can’t keep scoring three goals every game to nick a point or to only just win a game, so until he tightens that up, they are going to be a million miles off.
“This is going to be a slow, slow journey back for Arsenal.”