The former Gunners favourite expects the proven performer to be a shrewd addition, but has questioned why the Blues did business with a domestic rival
David Luiz will help to return Arsenal to the Champions League says Paul Merson, but questions need to be asked about why Chelsea were prepared to do business with a Premier League rival.
The Gunners moved to lure the experienced centre-half away from their London neighbours on transfer deadline day.
An £8 million ($10m) agreement saw Luiz swap Stamford Bridge for Emirates Stadium.
He is considered to have rounded off a productive window for Unai Emery, despite concerns over his discipline and concentration.
Merson admits the Brazilian is not the reliable option Arsenal were after at the heart of their defence, but expects the flamboyant character to prove a useful addition to their top-four bid.
The former Gunners winger told the Daily Star: “David Luiz is not the answer to Arsenal’s defensive problems, but he might be enough to get them back in the Champions League.
“I say that not because he makes my old club much stronger but because he makes Chelsea so much weaker.
“I think they are already right up against it after selling Eden Hazard to Real Madrid because they relied on him immensely last season.
“They’re back in the Champions League but they haven’t really been able to add players because of the transfer embargo.”
On Arsenal’s efforts to force their way back into the Premier League’s top four, Merson added: “If Arsenal find some consistency, it’s theirs to take. I’d be shocked if Luiz majorly improves their defending.
“But he will make them entertaining. He will make mistakes. But he also has a sweet diagonal ball in him, and he can pick a pass when he wants to.
“It’s his concentration levels that worry me. He likes to come and win it, but then he gets lost in a daze sometimes and doesn’t get back quick enough.
“I actually like him as a central midfielder. He can pass it and if he loses concentration it’s not so costly.
“It’s ironic that Arsenal have looked all over Europe for a centre back and ended up signing one right on their doorstep.
“But it ticks the boxes in some ways. Luiz has plenty of experience, he’s a winner with a big personality, a leader. Arsenal don’t have those kinds of characters.
“He can also go straight in without needing any time to adjust. He’s used to the league and the country. He won’t need a few weeks to settle.
Article continues below
“I just think that if a top club is selling a player to another top club, there’s something wrong. Chelsea don’t do this deal and strengthen a rival unless something has happened.
“At least Arsenal are having a go. I think Kieran Tierney is a great signing. And they spent a lot of money on Nicolas Pepe. I didn’t think Arsenal would do that kind of business.”
Emery will have the opportunity to ease his summer signings into their new surroundings on Sunday when Arsenal open their 2019-20 campaign away at Newcastle.