Former Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna believes the club can mount a serious challenge for silverware over the next couple of seasons.

The Gunners have made a strong start to the new Premier League campaign, winning five-in-a-row before losing at Manchester United.

Despite that defeat, Mikel Arteta’s side are listed as third favourites in the latest Premier League betting to win the title this season.

Manchester City are strongly fancied to clinch top spot after making significant improvements to their squad this summer.

The reigning champions are just one point behind Arsenal after six games, but many respected pundits have tipped them to finish a long way clear of their rivals.

However, Sagna recently told Betway that the Gunners are heading in the right direction and insists they will challenge for trophies this term.

“We can see that the club are trying to build a team based on specific qualities when they recruit players and it’s working very well for them,” he said.

“They brought in quality players last year. I was not convinced at the beginning because of the age of some of them and the lack of experience, but it’s worked perfectly.

“I feel last year was just a warm-up for what we can expect during the next year or two.”

While Arsenal have enjoyed plenty of success in the FA Cup in recent years, they have fallen behind their main rivals in the Premier League.

The Gunners last won the title in 2003/04 and have not finished higher than fifth position over the past six seasons.

They finished just two points adrift of the top four last term and have been backed to nab a Champions League qualification spot this time around.

Challenging City for the title may be a bridge too far, but ending the campaign inside the top four is certainly not beyond the realms of possibility.

Liverpool have made a poor start to the new season, while Chelsea have been extremely inconsistent over the past few weeks.

Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United may well be Arsenal’s main challengers for a top four spot, although it is too early to make any definitive predictions.

The Europa League could be their best hope of winning silverware, and they will be keen to get off to winning start in their opening group game against Zurich on Thursday.

Given their start to the season and the impact made by their new signings, the club’s fans are justifiably optimistic about the future.

Ex-Man City forward Gabriel Jesus has been a standout performer to date, while his former teammate Oleksandr Zinchenko has also looked impressive.

Sagna believes the new additions coupled with the existing talent in the squad can help Arsenal compete again on an equal footing with the big guns.

“Gabriel Jesus is ideal for this team and exactly the type of player they should be looking for,” he added.

“What’s great to see is that the connection with the fans is back. You can clearly see that the fans are really happy and supportive. It’s nice to see some stability.

“When I was at Arsenal, I felt there were times it could be difficult to play at our absolute best when there was negative attention on the club.”

“But football is football and I know everything can fall away in no time. I’m sure Mikel will be on their backs, telling them that they have quality but the results only come from putting in maximum effort and concentration into every game.”