Paul Merson fears Arsenal summer signing is 'lost' under Mike Arteta

Former Arsenal star Paul Merson has been left perplexed by the performances of Willian since his summer move from Arsenal and believes the experienced Brazilian winger looks ‘lost’ under his new manager Mikel Arteta.

The 32-year-old joined the Gunners on a free transfer in the summer after Chelsea refused to offer the former Shakhtar Donetsk star the three-year contract he had been holding out for.

Arteta had hoped that Willian would make an instant impact at Arsenal but after starring with three assists on his debut against Fulham, the versatile winger has struggled to live up to expectations.

Willian has spoken effusively about his new boss and believes he will enjoy a long and successful career in management, but Merson has been stunned by the level of the former Chelsea star’s recent displays.

He told Sky Sports: ‘I think I’m seeing things at the moment. Willian was unbelievable at Chelsea last year. For me, he was probably one of the best Chelsea players. He was phenomenal – an outstanding talent.

‘He has gone to Arsenal and he looks lost. They have got to get him performing.’

Merson also believes the time has come for Arteta to restore captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to a central striking role, rather than deploy him on the left-wing where teams have ‘worked out’ a player who has scored only once from open play in the Premier League this season.

He added: ‘When Aubameyang is out on the wing, he can go 15 minutes without touching the ball.

‘You can’t have your star player going that long without touching the ball. How many goals would Jamie Vardy get for Leicester if you played him out on the left wing? Not as many as he gets now, that’s for sure.

‘Defences are starting to work him out. They are starting to nullify the threat from him from out wide and making life hard for him.

‘They are stopping the cut inside and shot into the far corner. Something has got to change. At the moment, he’s not seeing enough of the ball where it matters.’

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