Arsenal must tell Andrei Arshavin and Tomas Rosicky 'thank you, but goodbye' says Emmanuel Petit

 

Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit has warned the club need to get rid of a host of their big names and sign six established players if they are to return to their former glories.

The French World Cup winner admitted he fears for the future of the Gunners following last night's Champions League debacle.

Petit, who formed a formidable partnership with Patrick Vieira in his three years in north London from 1997 to 2000, claimed the likes of Andrey Arshavin, Tomas Rosicky and Theo Walcott were simply not good enough.

"I asked myself what has become of the team that I knew. It's worse than I thought, they haven't recovered from the departures of (Cesc) Fabregas (to Barcelona) and (Samir) Nasri (to Manchester City)," Petit told www.sofoot.com.

"It's a gulf which is confirmed weekend after weekend.

"And what is perhaps the most worrying thing is the club won't do anything this summer to reverse the trend.

"They don't want to go back to overspending in the transfer market, and I think they're right. But for two seasons, the level of the team has only gone down."

The Gunners went down 4-0 at the San Siro in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie in a performance branded "shocking" by manager Arsene Wenger.

Petit added: "The problem is that previously the club compensated for its lack of physical strength with Fabregas. With him, Arsenal were the most attractive team to watch in Europe behind Barcelona.

"There, in midfield, there isn't anything now, the defence is constantly under construction. It's fortunate that (Robin) van Persie is up front.

"Certain young players haven't done enough to justify the confidence that Arsene has in them. Walcott - somehow he's going to have to reach the next stage. It's been years that he's been at the same level.

"(Aaron) Ramsey, against Milan, I got the impression it was his (twin) brother on the pitch. In the way they behave, in their body language, we see they're not there anymore.

"We shouldn't hesitate to talk about the end of the cycle. Regardless of age, we have to look seriously at certain players. Right now.

"You have to send out a strong signal. You have to say to Arshavin, and to Rosicky: 'Gentlemen, thank you, but goodbye'. And soon."

Petit also cast doubt on whether Lille's Eden Hazard would be a suitable signing, claiming the club need more experienced players.

"I like him a lot but what has he done at a high level?" Petit said. "Has he been good in the Champions League? We haven't seen him. Has he been good for Belgium? He's sometimes even a substitute.

"What's needed is five or six players of real stature, great experience. Players who are 27 - 30 years old at most.

"Players with technical qualities, obviously, but also strong character. A group of guys who refuse to accept defeat, who inspire confidence in the rest of the team."

Meanwhile, former Arsenal full-back Lee Dixon has slammed last night's display and questioned Wenger's decision to start with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the bench.

"Everything that could go wrong in the game did and it was a really, really poor performance," Dixon told betting exchange Betfair.

"There are not a lot of positives, to be honest with you. It'll be difficult for Arsene to pick the players up before a massive FA Cup tie at Sunderland this weekend. He's got his work cut out."

Dixon added: "I was surprised Oxlade-Chamberlain wasn't starting the game. He's been the man in form.

"Yes, he's a young lad but he's shown he can handle the big occasions. We saw after 60-odd minutes what he can do, and he certainly asked questions of the Milan defence."

Looking ahead to the return leg at Emirates Stadium, Dixon said: "I don't think [Arsenal] will keep a clean sheet.

"Milan have got enough about them to score at the Emirates which will make the task impossible. I think it's beyond them now."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project