Former Arsenal star Emmanuel Petit insists Arsene Wenger is still the right man to lead the Gunners but believes this season could be make or break for his old boss, he told AFP on Friday.
“Arsene is in the most difficult year of his career because of the lack of trophies,” said Petit of 67-year-old Wenger.
Wenger joined Arsenal in 1996 and has led the club to three Premier League titles, but the last dates back to 2004.
“They can’t just bank on a few English Cup wins,” Petit said in reference to the 2015 and 2017 FA Cup triumphs. “Especially as Arsenal have been so poor in the transfer market these last few seasons.”
“A section of the fans have turned against him and he’s under legitimate pressure,” said Petit. “But he’s the right man for the job.”
Petit was part of Arsenal’s double-winning team in 1998, the year he scored in France’s 3-0 triumph over Brazil in the World Cup final.
He moved on to Barcelona after helping France to win Euro 2000.
Petit said Wenger “runs the club as if it were his own property, and it’s making a profit, it’s a flourishing economic model”.
“It’s just a shame Arsenal can’t attract the top names anymore,” he said, adding that the kind of investment needed to win a league title made them very expensive indeed.
Arsenal reportedly offered around 100 million euros to try to land Monaco star Thomas Lemar in the just-closed transfer window but the French international chose to remain in France.
Not only did Arsenal fail to win the league title again last season, they also failed to qualify for the Champions League by coming fifth in the Premier League.
“They were in the Champions League every season for twenty years,” Petit said.
“Maybe they can take some inspiration from how Manchester United fared (winning the Europa League) last season,” 46-year-old Petit said.