Arsene Wenger has disagreed with Paul Merson over his belief that Roy Keane wouldn’t have been welcome in the Arsenal dressing room.
Paul Merson has maintained the opinion that Roy Keane would have been too much for Arsene Wenger due to the Irishman’s tendency to voice his opinions clearly and aggressively.
Speaking to Sky Sports three years ago, former Arsenal midfielder Merson explained why Keane wouldn’t have meshed well with Wenger.
“Arsene wouldn’t have a Roy Keane playing for him,” Merson said in 2017.
“He wouldn’t have a Mark Bosnich playing for him. They have opinions. If players aren’t playing well, they’d get up and say they won’t accept that. This manager doesn’t want that. He has surrounded himself with nice people.”
Wenger has addressed almost every single question on a far-ranging promotional tour of his new book and Merson’s assertion regarding Keane predictably came up.
Wenger vehemently denied Merson’s suggestion that Keane would not have suited Arsenal, with the Frenchman insisting that he would have welcomed Keane at Highbury at the time.
“I would have loved a Roy Keane because he does the job of a manager,” Wenger told the Irish Independent. “So I don’t necessarily agree with that opinion. Roy Keane was an exceptional football player but he was always, as well, on the fringe of violence.
“I don’t know what kind of player he was in the dressing-room but to me, on the outside, he looked like a guy who controlled the team.
“But I had many strong characters in my team too, believe me. When I arrived, I already had Bould, Adams, Keown, Seaman and Bergkamp. They were all strong people and you need those to win football matches.”