Arsenal have been told to buy Gabriel Jesus or risk missing out on qualifying for the Champions League next season by club legend Paul Merson.

Mikel Arteta’s side are firmly in the race to sign the versatile Manchester City striker, and are believed to now be favourites to land him after Tottenham’s interest cooled.

Jesus would offer the side unpredictability in attack as a result of his ability to play anywhere across the frontline, but he may set back his potential suitors £50million.

Regardless, Arsenal are expected to push for the top four next campaign, with Merson issuing a stern message that their hopes rest solely on recruiting their target.

He has also suggested that Eddie Nketiah alone cannot fire them to their objectives.

Writing for the Daily Star, he said: ‘Arsenal must get Gabriel Jesus if they are serious about getting back into the top four. They have got to get him. It’s that simple.

‘Everything goes out of the window if they don’t. It doesn’t matter what else they do. All they’ve got right now up front is Eddie Nketiah. And no disrespect but Nketiah won’t get you into the top four. Absolutely no chance. That’s a fact.’

He then went on to add: ‘So they need Jesus. They don’t need young players with potential like Fabio Vieira. They need experience. And Jesus has plenty of that.

‘If they don’t get him they are sitting there with one centre forward, and let’s be honest if not for [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang and [Alexandre] Lacazette’s contract situations, he wouldn’t be there.

‘They need to sort the Jesus signing out very quickly. I think he is good enough to transform Arsenal. He doesn’t get the credit he deserves.

‘Yes, he does miss chances but he never goes hiding and he’s a centre forward who is desperate to score goals. He has that hunger and a little bit of a selfish streak and you need that.’

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