He elaborates on the role of financial incentives and personal addictions that influenced his decision.
In a revealing interview with FourFourTwo, Merson sheds light on the personal and financial reasons that drove him to Middlesbrough, just as Arsenal were set to make history under Arsene Wenger‘s leadership.
As the 1998 World Cup approached, with Arsenal on the cusp of an historic double the next season, his decision to transfer to Middlesbrough seemed inexplicable.
However, as Merson opens up, the motivations behind his switch become more apparent.
Paul Merson gives a forthright account, stating, “For the first time in my life, greed with my addictions,”
At that time, Merson was battling various addictions, including alcohol, drugs, and gambling.
“Do you know what? For the first time in my life, greed with my addictions,” he said . “My addictions back then were really flying.
“Arsenal offered me a four-year deal on £580,000 a year – and Boro offered me a million pounds a year. I couldn’t quite get my head around it.”
But, looking back, Merson admits that the financial aspects were a “massive part” of his decision to leave Arsenal.