Arsenal icon Paul Merson has now suggested Kaoru Mitoma must ‘prove himself’ for the Brighton & Hove Albion star to get a top transfer amid interest from Mikel Arteta.

The 26-year-old lit the Premier League up last weekend as Mitoma waltzed through Wolves’ defence for a sublime solo goal. He made Molineux his playground as the Japan winger took on several players to drive from the halfway line. No defenders could throw him off the ball.

Scoring in such scintillating fashion has even seen Mitoma merit comparisons to Ryan Giggs at the Manchester United legend’s peak. While talkSPORT has reported that Arsenal hold an interest in Mitoma’s transfer from Brighton. Bayern Munich also appreciate the 17-cap star.

Arsenal transfer target Kaoru Mitoma in action for Brighton & Hove Albion against Wolves
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Arsenal are interested in Kaoru Mitoma’s transfer from Brighton

Brighton are confident about holding onto Mitoma beyond next Friday’s deadline with their star forward open to a new contract. The Kanagawa native only has two years remaining on the deal he penned upon joining in August 2021. He switched to the Seagulls for just £2.5m.

Mitoma had to wait until August 2022 for his Premier League breakthrough following a loan spell with Union SG. He also had to wait until after Roberto De Zerbi replaced Graham Potter to truly break through. But the Japan star ended the season with seven goals and six assists.

Arsenal saw the impact that Mitoma is capable of delivering during their 4-2 win at Brighton in December. He scored past Aaron Ramsdale to drag the Seagulls a goal back to make it 3-1. The Gunners’ January recruit Leandro Trossard and Mitoma also united against Chelsea.

Arsenal transfer target Kaoru Mitoma in action for Brighton & Hove Albion against Wolves
Photo by Gustavo Pantano/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Paul Merson questions clubs paying £100m to sign Kaoru Mitoma

Yet while Arteta is now interested in Mitoma sealing a transfer to Emirates Stadium, Arsenal icon Merson believes the Brighton forward still has to prove himself. He does not believe the attacker has shown enough against the Premier League’s best defenders to join a top team.

“Kaoru Mitoma is a very good player,” Merson wrote in his column for Sportskeeda. “But I’m not sure if teams would pay £100m for him. There are a lot of good wingers around.

“If he can have another good season, who knows? I’ve seen him coming up against good defenders and not touching the ball. The big teams will buy him for the Champions League and he’ll need to prove himself against the best defenders in the Premier League.”

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