‘Arteta needs to get rid of half the dressing room at Arsenal’

Martin Macdonald
‘Arteta needs to get rid of half the dressing room at Arsenal’

Former Arsenal star Emmanuel Petit believes current manager Mikel Arteta must get rid of half of the players in the squad this summer.

Following the tumultuous tenure of Unai Emery, Arteta was brought in to initially steady the ship at the Emirates before coaching them back to their previous status as one of the elite clubs in the country.

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It hasn’t happened yet, and the Gunners are languishing down in 10th in the Premier League table, having won just 12 of their 30 games so far in 2020/21.

Petit reckons the Spaniard isn’t completely to blame for the performances this campaign, though, and thinks as much as half the squad are not Arsenal quality, particularly older players like David Luiz and Willian.

“When I look at the older players in the team, it’s like they think it’s a retreat football club, somewhere you just go for a vacation,” the World Cup winner told Ladbrokes.

 “They have ambition, but I don’t really expect them to win big games anymore.

“If you took away the name ‘Arsenal’ and looked at that group of players… average.

“At the end of the season, if I’m Arsenal, if I’m Arteta, if I’m on the board, to be honest with you, I think my main concern is getting half of the dressing room out. Honestly.

“The question is simple; how many Arsenal players would you look at and say ‘they’re one of the best in the league in that position’?”

Arsenal’s recruitment

Over the last couple of years, Arsenal have spent big on the likes of Nicolas Pepe, Gabriel, Lucas Torreira, and William Saliba, while they brought in Willian from Chelsea on reportedly huge wages last summer.

Petit has slammed the recruitment currently going on at the club, and has questioned who is actually making the signings.

“For me, the biggest mistake they have made in the last few years is their ridiculous transfer activity,” the former Arsenal midfielder suggested.

“OK, it’s a question of money and they don’t have the same finances as Manchester United and Manchester City, but they’re not far behind those clubs.

“They still have the power to get big players in. But the way they’ve spent money in the last six or seven years… who is directing that? I’m just asking that question: who is in charge of these decisions? Does the manager have a say, is it his responsibility? Or is it someone on the board?

Nicolas Pepe cost £72 million from Lille

Nicolas Pepe cost £72 million from Lille

“I don’t understand the profile of players they’ve brought in – especially in defence.

“I try not to get emotional anymore when I look at Arsenal. I try to step back and put away my emotions. I try and look at them like a normal team. I have to tell myself ‘don’t expect anything special from them today.’ This is the way I am now.”

Arsenal’s only hope to make it back into the Champions League next season is via victory in the Europa League.

On Thursday, they take on Slavia Prague in the first leg of their quarter-final tie against the Czech outfit.