The former Arsenal and France international star Emmanuel Petit knows a thing or two about what it takes to win a trophy, having won the league and cup in France with Monaco and in England with Arsenal, as well as having a World Cup and a Euro championship winning medals to his name.
He also has some very interesting things to say about why Arsenal are not looking like adding another trophy to the cabinest this year and why we seem unable to keep up a proper challenge for the Premier League title. Petit’s controversial theory is that it is the famous Arsenal academy system that is holding the Gunners back,
Or more specifically, he reckons that it is Arsene Wenger’s faith in the likes of Jack Wilshere and his insistence on playing them and using them to avoid having to spend big money in the transfer market that is stopping Arsenal from having a team full of the right type of characters, namely those with a burning desire to win things.
The Frenchman told Sky Sports, “Arsenal’s academy policy is very good, up until a certain point – there is a limit. There are a lot of players coming from the academy who are good but they have failed to improve over the last three or four years.
“This has been a big disappointment for me. Players like Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere are constantly injured and they are not improving.
“They are good, but not that good, that is why they need something else in the dressing room.
“If you want to exceed this limit [of the academy], you have to bring in experienced players – big names, big characters, players with winning mentality.
“They need to bring leaders into this team. They have quality, no doubt, they have big players but not enough. They need leaders, big characters and players that hate to be beaten and love to win – not only games but titles.
“There are only two options for Arsenal. Either they keep on doing what they’re doing, adding experienced players to the youth coming through, or they use the money they have.
“In the last few years we have seen Arsenal performing well on the pitch but not winning titles, with the exception two FA Cups.
“They fail at the final step every time, at this crucial time of the season. That means they need something to improve the closing stages of the season. That, for me, would be spending the money.
“Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are all spending money on top players to improve their team and results.”
Is Petit right? I am not so sure and his timing is certainly lousy after Alex Iwobi put in a brilliant performance on his Premier League debut after becoming the latest starlet to break through from the youth system. Yes it has been disappointing that Jack Wilshere has not achieved his early potential but you cannot account for his terrible luck with injuries.
Walcott and the Ox, meanwhile, were in fact signed by the boss and he has started to spend more money on bringing the likes of Ozil and Alexis Sanchez in. Do you think Arsenal have got the balance right or is Wenger too reliant on the players Arsenal produce?