Arsenal are likely to turn to Patrick Vieira to replace Arsene Wenger as manager, but only after the Gunners boss has stayed for one more season, according to Paul Merson.
Wenger is under intense pressure with his contract due to expire at the end of the season and has made a decision on whether to stay at the Emirates Stadium, but is yet to reveal what that verdict is.
Merson believes Wenger will opt to sign a one-year extension, with former Arsenal captain Vieira coming in to replace him in 2018.
"My instincts tell me he is going to sign and he is waiting for a big win and he will sign for another year," Merson said to Sky Sports.
"I wouldn't be surprised if he stays a year and then Patrick Vieira comes in."
Vieira, 40, is with New York City FC in his first managerial job, but ex-Gunners playmaker Merson is confident the fans would be on side with his appointment given his iconic status and tough style.
"Yes [Vieira is the heir-apparent]," said Merson. "He is learning his trade over at New York City, he has been at Man City, and he brings a winning mentality, he won't take any rubbish.
"Arsenal look too nice at the moment. I think that could happen and the fans would love that."
3 - Longest current managerial reigns by PL bosses:Wenger (Arsenal): 20y 172dHowe (Bournemouth): 4y 161dDyche (Burnley): 4y 142dRule. March 21, 2017
Merson continued: "The players don't seem like they are working that hard for the manager at the moment, which is sad.
"Whoever comes in it is going to be a step-up – it is a big, big football club but I don't see a problem.
"Vieira is a legend, which gives you some leeway. I just think he will get his team playing the way he played the game, which is what they need at the moment."
Arsenal have lost six of their last nine matches in all competitions, with a crunch home Premier League game against Manchester City coming up after the international break on April 2.
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