Jens Lehmann has become the latest ex-Gunner to comment on why he thought Arsenal couldn’t replicate the success of Arsene Wenger’s earlier years at the helm.
Wenger was Arsenal’s manager for more than 20 years and in the first half of his reign, he built an Arsenal team that challenged the dominance of Manchester United.
He even won the Premier League title by taking his team through the entire 2003/2004 season unbeaten.
However, that remains Arsenal’s last Premier League title triumph and the years after saw the Gunners fail to sustain a title challenge and make do with just winning the FA Cup on a number of occasions.
Lehman, however, believes that the reason why Arsenal failed to build on their earlier success was because of their failure to implement a good succession plan.
Before 2009, every member of the invincible team had been sold and Arsene Wenger had to start building a new team to win the league title from scratch.
“Arsenal made one mistake,” Lehmann said as quoted in the Express.
“At the time, probably a minor mistake, but now I think it was quite a mistake which was decisive for the coming years.
“In 2008, Gilberto Silva and myself were the last guys from that team before.
“A year before they changed Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Martin Keown I think left before in 2004 but within two years they got rid of all the personalities.
“As I said, Gilberto and myself were the last one and I was coming into the dressing room when I had my little comeback and there were guys like Robin van Persie, Cesc Fabregas, Tomas Rosicky, all young guys, and after one good game they thought ‘I’m on the top of the hierarchy.
“But you could feel that there was no hierarchy because they were too young to lead at the time.
“It wasn’t their fault but there was just no in-between generation which could actually transfer the old values and the approaches to training and to games onto this new generation, there was a huge gap.
“In my opinion that was a transition that was too fast.
“They were looking at age and statistics and probably salaries and whatever, but keeping some of the good guys from before [which] was a good, sometimes nasty approach, would have helped.”