Date: 11th July 2019 at 8:38am
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Arsenal should avoid a move for Southampton’s Mario Lemina at all costs, according to ex-Gunners striker Paul Mariner.

The former Arsenal man warned Unai Emery not to pursue the midfielder – who he feels would not warrant a move in the region of £20m.

Lemina is said to be up for sale at St. Mary’s, with Manchester United also thought to be interested in the Gabon international.

But Mariner is less than convinced – and thinks Lucas Torreira is more than a match for Lemina amid talk he could be on The Gunners’ radar this summer.

Speaking as a pundit for ESPN FC (via The Daily Express), he said: “What has he done for me at Southampton? Absolutely nothing.

“Arsenal have got Torreira – I think he’s a terrific player, he’s a fan favourite, he puts a shift in.

“Bringing in Lemina for £20-30m? As a squad player, maybe. As a first-team player, no, not for me.”

While Southampton are thought to be happy recouping the £18m they paid for him to Juventus in 2017, it looks like Mariner’s concerns are well-placed – not least because the fee would take up almost half of Arsenal’s reported budget, but defensive-midfield is arguably one of the few areas The Gunners have capable depth in, having signed Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi last summer.

For Emery to waste the opportunity to bolster the backline or wide players through a Lemina swoop would be a huge display of mismanagement from the boss.

Neither the finances nor basic common sense suggest that Lemina should high on the priority list for Arsenal. With Granit Xhaka also covering his position, he would surely have to work extremely hard to break into the first team – whereas filling positions with less competition such as out wide seem to plainly be the more obvious areas for Emery to spend on this summer.