Attending FootballFanCast’s match with Hashtag United at the Emirates Stadium in the EuropCar Cup, we caught up with Arsenal double winner and Invincible Ray Parlour.
The former England international, now often found being heard on the talkSPORT airwaves, is well-known for his entertaining anecdotes from his time in the game and isn’t shy of expressing his opinion.
Naturally, then, he provided some intriguing answers to our questions as he offered his thoughts on Arsenal’s season in particular – as well as what the future could hold for the club going into the summer window and beyond – alongside some musings on Celtic’s unbeaten domestic season and, of course, the one he achieved with the Gunners back in 2003/04.
Here, then, is the best of what the Romford Pele had to say:
On Arsenal missing out on the top four:
“Well it’s disappointing, I think they failed against the bigger sides and the games that also stick out are West Brom away and Crystal Palace away. I think they went to the three [at the back] too late, that seems to suit the team now. So maybe they should have gone with that a litter sooner. In the end it was a little too late and I was expecting Liverpool and Manchester City to get a result [on the final day].”
On potential signings to accommodate new system:
“Well, [Alex] Oxlade-Chamberlain looked good out there and it might suit [Hector] Bellerin more as he’s an attacking player but definitely at left-back. Players like Kieran Gibbs need to play regular football now and I don’t think he’s going to here so he needs to say ‘can I move on?’”
On signing players and wages:
“Now, with Chelsea and Manchester City, you’ve got to wait and see who they’re going to sign. Because if you’re going for the same player why are they going to go to Arsenal? They’re going to be offered £80k a week more elsewhere, you’ve got to start competing and spending the money whether you like it or not. What do you want to be – do you want to be a business model or win trophies?”
On Alexis Sanchez’s future:
“I don’t know what his representatives want but there’ll be lots of clubs involved [if he goes] and it might be like the situation with [Robin] van Persie and [Samir] Nasri. If he gets to a year left on his contract they have to sell him, simple. I’d be sorry to see him go because he’s very important for Arsenal but the players have got all the power these days and the clubs have to go with the players and the representatives. I would pay the money though and hopefully Arsenal will do that.”
On Celtic’s Invincibles v Arsenal’s:
“All they can do is beat what’s in front of them. You can say that the Premier League is stronger, of course it is, but you’ve still got to win games and not concede goals. All I can say to that really is that the Premier League is stronger but it’s still a great achievement.”
On whether any current Arsenal stars could make it into their Invincibles:
“I think probably Sanchez, [Laurent] Koscielny maybe. Sanchez would play on the right. You could probably have an argument maybe Koscielny for [Kolo] Toure. So there’s probably two realistically.”
On Arsenal in the Europa League:
“I don’t think they’ll take it seriously. They’ll probably rotate the side quite a lot and go for the league, definitely.”
On any potential management career of his own:
“I think it’s a lot of hassle, management. I don’t like the regimental side of it. I used to love football don’t get me wrong but it’s like being in the army in a regimental sort of way – you get told what to do everyday. I made the decision by 31, 32 that I wanted to do what I wanted to do.”