Petit lays into Arsenal squad

Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit has stated that the north London club need to sell a number of players and begin a new cycle with extensive transfer activity this summer.

The Gunners were comprehensively beaten 4-0 by AC Milan in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie on Wednesday night, causing widespread criticism of the team in the media.

The ex-France international feels that something needs to be done to bring the Emirates Stadium outfit back to its former glories.

“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 and (Samir) Nasri,” Petit is reported as saying in The Telegraph.

“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 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. (Theo) 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  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 (Andrei) Arshavin, and to (Tomas) Rosicky: ‘Gentlemen, thank you, but goodbye’. And soon.

“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,” he concluded.

By Gareth McKnight

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