Emmanuel Petit has warned former club Arsenal that their stars will not accept another season like the last two, and that they will push to leave.
The Gunners have suffered consecutive league campaigns of finishing down in eighth spot, while this upcoming year will be the first without any form of European football for a decade-and-a-half.
Petit has now warned that they are running a risky business by not showing their ambition, and warns against another summer of lacklustre spending.
‘As a club, you need to show your players that you are ambitious,’ former Gunners midfielder Petit told the Metro.
‘In terms of improvement, competition and ambition, it’s very important to send them a signal. Arsenal have been sliding down the table for five or six years.
‘When is it going to finish? That means if I am an Arsenal player, I will be very conscious about what the club is doing in the market, who are the new players, who is leaving the club, and in the end I’ll make a conclusion.
‘If the club is spending money on good players with character, maybe that shows they want to send a signal to the team that this season will be different to the last few seasons. That they want to get back to the level they were at before.
‘Players will look at that and compare with other teams, then make a conclusion very easily. If Arsenal don’t have the team to compete for the Champions League positions, it’s going to be the same as last year and the year before.
‘Emile Smith Rowe is not stupid, he will be looking at guys like Mason Mount, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish enjoying their football with the national team, all smiling on the pitch and very relaxed with the pressure and the ambitions of their clubs and the national team. Smith Rowe will want to be the same.’
The Frenchman goes onto talk about the Smith Rowe saga, with Aston Villa already having two bids rejected at this early point in the window.
Petit added: ‘The fact that Aston Villa are interested in him is not a surprise because are they avoided relegation last year, this season was brilliant for them.
‘They’ve got so many young players, all enjoying their football, and Smith Rowe will be aware of that.
‘He will have had some questions in his mind and I hope Arsenal gave him the answers he was expecting in terms of the transfer market and ambitions for next season.
‘If this season is the same season we’ve seen from Arsenal for the last couple of years, forget it. They’re going to lose so many players at the end of the season.’
I wish I could say that this wasn’t already a worry for our fans, but we are well aware that if we continue on the downward spiral that we could endure long-term issues, and the last thing we want is for current players and targets to not believe in what we are trying to build in North London, and at present, the signings of Nuno Tavares and Sambi Lokonga have a long way to go to convince anyone that they are going to make a huge difference to our team this season.
Will Arsenal be working on something huge? Will one big signing like Thomas Partey of last summer be enough to make the difference?