The Frenchman has not been impressed with his old club’s recruitment in recent years and wants to see some deadwood removed
Emmanuel Petit has slammed Arsenal’s “ridiculous” transfer business while urging Mikel Arteta to clear out “half the dressing room”.
The Gunners have gone from Premier League title contenders and Champions League regulars to also-rans on both domestic and European fronts in recent years.
Petit thinks poor recruitment has been the biggest factor in his old club’s decline, and has admitted that he no longer expects anything from a squad currently being run by Mikel Arteta.
What’s been said?
“For me, the biggest mistake they have made in the last few years is their ridiculous transfer activity,” the former Arsenal midfielder told Ladbrokes.
“OK, it’s a question of money and they don’t have the same finances as Manchester United and Manchester City, but they’re not far behind those clubs.
“They still have the power to get big players in. But the way they’ve spent money in the last six or seven years… who is directing that? I’m just asking that question: who is in charge of these decisions? Does the manager have a say, is it his responsibility? Or is it someone on the board?
“I don’t understand the profile of players they’ve brought in – especially in defence.
“I try not to get emotional anymore when I look at Arsenal. I try to step back and put away my emotions. I try and look at them like a normal team. I have to tell myself ‘don’t expect anything special from them today.’ This is the way I am now.”
Petit labels Arsenal a ‘retreat football club’
The likes of David Luiz and Willian have faced plenty of criticism since swapping Chelsea for Arsenal, with it suggested that the north London outfit no longer have the pulling power to attract the best young talent in European football.
Petit thinks the more experienced members of Arteta’s squad have been guilty of coasting, and would like to see the Spaniard get rid of the deadwood when the summer transfer window opens.
“When I look at the older players in the team, it’s like they think it’s a retreat football club, somewhere you just go for a vacation,” he added. “They have ambition, but I don’t really expect them to win big games anymore.
“If you took away the name ‘Arsenal’ and looked at that group of players… average.
“At the end of the season, if I’m Arsenal, if I’m Arteta, if I’m on the board, to be honest with you, I think my main concern is getting half of the dressing room out. Honestly.
“The question is simple; how many Arsenal players would you look at and say ‘they’re one of the best in the league in that position’?”
What can Arsenal still achieve in 2020-21?
The Gunners only have the Europa League left to play for heading into the final two months of the season, having fallen way down the Premier League standings while also exiting both the Carabao Cup and FA Cup.
Arsenal are sitting 10th in the top-flight with just eight matches remaining, ten points behind fourth-placed West Ham in the race for the final Champions League spot.
Arteta could still guide the team into the elite continental competition by delivering Europa League success, though, with the first leg of their quarter-final clash against Slavia Prague set to take place at Emirates Stadium on Thursday.