FORMER England international Paul Merson believes Arsenal should target Cherries defender Nathan Ake this summer.

The 51-year-old pundit, who won two league titles and an FA Cup with the Gunners, believes Ake’s suitability to the Premier League would help Mikel Arteta’s men.

He told Sky Sports: “They need a centre half and a world-class holding midfielder. I think Arsenal need to play with a back three. They’re not good enough as defenders to play as a four.

“Ake has pace and he’s played in England for a while, so if you brought him in for next season he’s not a player who will need time to get used to the league for six months.

“Arsenal need to hit the ground running (next season) and everybody needs to know their jobs in the team.”

Ake had been linked with moves to Chelsea and Manchester City in January but Cherries kept hold of the Dutchman, who they signed from Stamford Bridge in 2017 following a successful loan spell.

He has made 113 appearances for Eddie Howe’s men, scoring 11 goals.

Speaking to the Daily Echo about transfer speculation earlier this month, Ake said: “I think you just have to accept it. I think it has been over the past few years now.

“You can’t do anything about the articles being written and things like that. You just have to remain focused, don’t let it distract you and just keep going.

“Sometimes you see stuff on social media. I am not going to deny that but I am mentally strong enough to deal with that.”