Emmanuel Petit believes that Arsene Wenger must sign ‘six or seven’ players to turn things around at the club if he stays.
Petit is the latest former Arsenal player to speak out about what is happening at the club with Samir Nasri, Nicolas Anelka and Patrick Vieira all questioning the mentality of current players, in defence of Wenger.
“I owe him [Wenger] a lot,” Petit told the Sunday Mirror.
“He brought me from Monaco and helped me develop my game. I have no idea if he will stay. We will have to wait until the end of the season for that.
“But it is a fact that Arsene has made Arsenal into one of the biggest – and wealthiest – clubs in Europe in 20 years at the club.
“There is no reason why he should not be given the chance to build another team. He has more than earned that opportunity.
“But if he does decide to stay, there needs to be a big change at the club. They need to start spending the millions that Arsene has made for them.
“There have to be new players coming in to make them a team capable of challenging for titles.
“How many new players? If Arsene stays, he must bring in six or seven. Yes, that many.
“There are too many average players at Arsenal. The team and the squad needs proven players of proven ability.
“The current squad have quality, but they do not have the quality to win important titles.
“There is plenty of skill there and, when things are going well, they can be fantastic to watch.
“The problem comes when things are not going well.
“They do not have the strength to respond. It has been the same story every season for some time now – and the fans deserve more.
“They play high, high prices to watch the matches there – probably more than anyone else in the Premier League.
“And they should be seeing top players with the money that is now at the club.
““For me, there are too many Mr Nice Guys there at the moment. When it comes to the big matches, mentally and physically they disappear completely.
“They crash and crash again.
“When I was at the club, we had players like Patrick Vieira, Tony Adams, Martin Keown, Lee Dixon… so many real men who hated losing. There were many heated exchanges in our dressing rooms if things didn’t go well.
“That is what happens when you have winners in the squad.
“If things needed to be said, they said them. I cannot see how that is a problem. The players should have one thought and one ambition – we are Arsenal and we need to improve and we need to win every game.
“You think of Robin van Persie, Samir Nasri – players of that class.
“They were allowed to leave.Why did they want to leave? Because they wanted to win trophies, and they did not see that happening at Arsenal.
“That is wrong. Arsenal have the finance, and money should be given to Arsene to make the team stronger and able to challenge.
“For 10 years or so, really top players have left. That has to stop.”
Petit played for Arsenal between 1997 and 2000, winning a league and cup double before moving to Barcelona along with Marc Overmars for £32m. He had cost Wenger £2.5m when he signed him from Monaco.
After just one season with the Catalans, Petit joined Chelsea although he never looked the same player as had shone alongside Patrick Vieira under Wenger.