Emmanuel Petit has pulled no punches with his assessment of Arsenal’s decline in recent seasons, questioning the impact the senior players have at the club.
Petit compared the fall of Arsenal with the continued success at another of his former clubs Chelsea, and is worried for the Gunners’ future – saying they are currently “at the end of the world”.
The former France World Cup winner believes Arsenal have wasted their money in the transfer market, pointing out that the Gunners have spent similar sums to the Blues with vastly different results.
In 2019 Nicolas Pepe was brought to the club for a fee of £72million, only marginally less than the £75m Chelsea spent on Champions League-winning goalscorer Kai Havertz. It is decisions like this that have left Petit exasperated with Arsenal.
“I don’t recognise this club anymore, I don’t see the Arsenal blood on the pitch,” Petit told The Sun.
“It’s not the question of money because Arsenal have the power to put £70million on a player if they want to.
“It’s a question of profile – who do you want for your team in terms of character and quality? What are Arsenal doing in the transfer market?
“I don’t understand it. They spend money – a lot of money sometimes – but on the wrong player.”
It is not just the Gunners transfer business that has Petit worried, but also the performances of the senior players at the club.
“To be honest, I’m not really convinced – for four, five, six years now – with 60 per cent of the team,” he said.
“This is a turning point for Arsenal, they are at the end of the world. They need to take the right direction or else they’ll drop, drop and drop again and it’ll be more difficult for them to attract players.
“You need to be more efficient in the transfer market because Arsenal cannot rely on academy players.
“With all the respect I have for [Bukayo] Saka and [Emile] Smith Rowe – they have been playing brilliantly, especially Saka – but the other players – the experienced players – what have they brought to the team since they’ve arrived?
“Ask yourself the question and try to get the answer with honesty. You have to look at yourself in the mirror.”
Unlike Arsenal, things are looking bright for Chelsea and Petit has been impressed with the job Thomas Tuchel has done at the club since replacing Frank Lampard in January.
“The manager has signed for two more years, that proves what he’s done is brilliant after six months and I think they’ll be even more competitive next season.”
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Petit only sees improvement for the Blues and thinks they have an exciting time ahead of them
“Can you imagine if this team can improve offensively, individually and collectively?” he added.
“They will be even more difficult to defeat because they’ve found the right balance defensively, it’s very hard to score against them… I think they’ve got a bright future.”