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

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
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

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering