Former Arsenal defender Sol Campbell has said the team needs more experienced players in the middle of the park.
Campbell’s time at Arsenal was spent with the likes of Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit and Gilberto Silva marshalling the midfield so his standards are set to be high, and he thinks that is an area where the Gunners could make a real improvement.
“In the middle they need experienced players. They needn’t be especially big. Patrick Vieira was big but Gilberto was not massive, and he did a wonderful job,” Campbell said in an interview with the Daily Mail.
“Francis Coquelin has done very well. But there are times when he is not in the position I want him to be in. Perhaps he also needs to learn that he is being tested every game, regardless of whether it’s an FA Cup tie against a third division team or in the Premier League. You have to do the same things.”
Coquelin has been widely praised by the media since he broke into the Arsenal side this year, but is still inexperienced at the very highest level. Arsenal have paired Santi Cazorla with the Frenchman, who is more experienced but not at playing centrally, and have lost the benefit of having an incredibly rounded midfielder in Aaron Ramsey in the centre of midfield.
It’s easy to say where Arsenal could improve, but Campbell knows it isn’t as simple as signing ‘another Vieira’.
“But where do you find a Patrick? Or a Petit,” the former Arsenal defender asks.
The Gunners signed Petr Čech from Chelsea this summer but Campbell doesn’t feel it was enough to push on.
“There was talk of Karim Benzema coming,” he said.
“And really if they want to win the Premier League, Arsenal need to push the boat out to get those special players who will make a difference. You can’t make one big signing. Everybody does that, and you never move on.”
Have Arsenal moved on from last season? Time will tell, but Campbell makes a good argument.