Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit has criticised the club’s transfer policy – saying their imminent capture of Henrikh Mkhitaryan proves they can no longer attract the world’s top stars.
Arsene Wenger confirmed on Thursday morning that a deal was close for the Armenian and he expected the transfer, and that of Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United, to be wrapped up within the next 24 hours.
And with Armenia media reporting Mkhitaryan had agreed a deal to become Arsenal’s record signing, former Double winner Petit reckons the capture of the former Borussia Dortmund man shows how far the club has fallen.
He told Paddy Power: “I wonder about the quality of players Arsenal have been signing.
“They’re struggling to bring in top-quality players, and to keep the ones they have. It has been like this for a long time. They must be more competitive on the market – times have changed since I left.
“There has been a lot of speculation about the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Malcolm coming in – but Arsenal should be aiming higher.
“Because they are not competitive on the pitch at the moment, they need to be more competitive with wages.
“If you can’t guarantee trophies – or at least compete to win them – then you must offer players more in order to come to the club. That’s the way it works.
“It’s how they’ve got Henrikh Mkhitaryan.”
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Mkhitaryan only moved to United in 2016 but has struggled to win over Jose Mourinho and has fallen way out of favour with the United boss, making just three Premier League starts since October.
And Petit continued: “Mkhitaryan isn’t a winner.
“Since he signed for United, he hasn’t been involved enough, and I’m not sure he has a winning mentality.
“Sometimes he reminds me of Mesut Ozil – you really have to push him to show his character, and put him under pressure to display his best qualities.
“There’s no doubt he has great skill, but I’m not sure he’s the kind of footballers Arsenal need. They should be focussed on other positions.”
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