ARSENAL must focus on shedding HALF of the dressing room after a woefully disappointing season, Emmanuel Petit has claimed.
The Frenchman, 50, won the Premier League in his first of three years at the club and is dismayed by their current situation.
Mikel Arteta has a big job on to return Arsenal to being title contendersCredit: Reuters
Emmanuel Petit has described his emotional detachment from the GunnersCredit: Getty – Contributor
Saturday’s 3-0 defeat to Liverpool left the Gunners in tenth place and five points off the European places.
And while Petit has backed the young players coming through, he is no fan of the more experienced stars available to Mikel Arteta.
He told Ladbrokes at the launch of its 5-A-Side Bet: “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.
“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.
“I like the young players, but they need to be surrounded by the likes of Lee Dixon and Tony Adams, those personalities.
“It’s a simple science but if there’s one thing I’ve learnt as a footballer, it’s that you become a better player when you play with better players!”
Arsenal have let £163.5m worth of signings quit for free since January 2018
Arsenal have undergone a serious overhaul of the team in the past year, with Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Shkodran Mustafi and Mesut Ozil moved on in January.
Yet it is the players signed in their place that has baffled Petit.
The former midfielder accepted that his old club do not have endless finances, but asserted that they must do better.
He added: “The biggest mistake they have made in the last few years is their ridiculous transfer activity.
“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 have to tell myself, ‘Don’t expect anything special from them today’. This is the way I am now.
“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.”
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