Arsenal legend demands change to club's transfer policy

Martin Macdonald
Nicolas Pepe was sold by Lille to Arsenal for €80m

Nicolas Pepe was sold by Lille to Arsenal for €80m

Emmanuel Petit believes there must be changes made to Arsenal's recruitment strategy after a number of transfer flops over the last few years.

Last season was a hugely disappointing one for the Gunners as they finished eighth in the Premier League under Mikel Arteta, failing to qualify for Europe for the first time in a quarter of a century.

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Since the days of Arsene Wenger when the club were regularly in the top four, Arsenal have spent big to try and retain their status as one of the elite sides in England.

The likes of Nicolas Pepe (£72 million), Thomas Partey (£45m), William Saliba (£27m), Lucas Torreira (£25m), and Sokratis Papastathopoulos (£22m) have been brought in only to fail to impress.

Saliba is yet to even play for the club in the league despite the transfer outlay.

Petit has questioned the scouting at Arsenal, and believes there needs to be an overhaul of how the club conducts business in the market.

“How many times were they wrong in buying players at Arsenal? Defenders, Mustafi, Sokratis, with the same talent," the Frenchman told talkSPORT.

"They were adding players on players on players, but there were no difference between them.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was under pressure last season

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was under pressure last season

“This is the end of the street for them. Make changes, you have to. It’s been the case for the last couple of years, but what have they done?

“It’s not a question of money as they have the money.

“After all the famous Super League drop in the water, after all the frustration in the transfer market and the profile of the players who left, I can understand that they have to be careful by repaying the loan from the bank for the Emirates Stadium.

“I can understand that, but now it’s over it’s not the same anymore. Don’t tell me it’s because of COVID-19, when you spend £60million on players every single transfer market, you have the money to bring in talent.

“Can you tell me how you choose your talent? How you choose your profile? What is your target?”

How many times were they wrong in buying players at Arsenal?
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Arsenal's failed deals

There is growing frustration among the Arsenal fans at the moment, as highlighted by Petit's comments, about the club's inability to get deals over the line.

Throughout the past 12 months they have been strongly linked with Emiliano Buendia of Norwich and Odsonne Edouard of Celtic.

The Buendia deal was believed to be close but Arsenal were eventually gazumped to the transfer by Aston Villa, who acted quickly to recruit the Argentine after his Player of the Season displays in the Championship.

The Edouard transfer is also now unlikely as the Celtic star is reportedly on the cusp of a move to Leicester to reunite with former manager Brendan Rodgers.

The Gunners remain interested in Ruben Neves of Wolves and Yves Bissouma and Ben White of Brighton, but none of these deals look close to completion.