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Arsenal great Petit urges Wenger to draft in proven experience to mount title challenge

Date Posted,June 17, 2017

Emmanuel Petit insists Arsene Wenger must invest in proven experience if Arsenal are to mount a title challenge next season.

The last campaign ended with the Gunners out of a Champions League spot for the first time in Wenger’s 20 years as manager at the club.

An FA Cup Final win against Chelsea gave the north London club some ­silverware, but Thursday night football in the Europa League beckons next term.

Wenger is determined to act and has been linked with a £100million-plus move for AS Monaco and France ­sensation Kylian Mbappe.

Arsenal legend Petit – who helped steer Arsenal to the Premier League in 1998 – is the first to acknowledge the huge ­potential of the 18-year-old.

But the midfield general added: “You need big winners if you are going to be ­successful.

Wenger enjoyed a tough season full of criticism from fans (Photo: PA)
Arsene Wenger lifts The FA Cup
The FA Cup secured a two-year extension (Photo: The FA/Getty Images)

“Winners have shown that they can face challenges, that they have the desire needed for the club to win major ­honours. They have a special ­mentality. They have shown what they can do and that is the kind of player Arsene needs to bring in now.”

That is why Petit is anxious that Wenger manages to ­persuade striker Alexis Sanchez to stay at the club.


Sanchez has just one year left on his Emirates contract and that has alerted the likes of Manchester City and Bayern Munich to the ­possibility of a move for the Chile international.

Petit believes Wenger must spend on experience this summer (Photo: EFL)
The World Cup winner was in Bangkok for the launch of the Carabao Cup (Photo: EFL)

Wenger is desperate for Sanchez to stay – and Petit knows why.

“Now, he IS a winner,” said Petit. “His attitude and ­approach in every game is fantastic. I can see why Arsene wants to keep him.

“At the moment nothing is decided and I believe Sanchez is waiting to see what players are brought in before he makes up his mind about his future.”

Although Petit had a spell at Chelsea, it is clear Arsenal command his loyalty.

Arsene Wenger with Overmars and Petit
Wenger unveils Petit and Marc Overmars (Photo: Getty)

And while he was delighted the Gunners emerged ­victorious at Wembley in the FA Cup, he was somewhat bemused.

The 2-1 win produced as many questions as answers for the World Cup and European Championship winner. The Frenchman ­queries whether it was a ­triumph – or an indictment. Petit said: “Too many Arsenal players chose their games last season.

“Too many lacked the ­mental strength to compete for the title. They had not been consistent enough and produced some poor ­performances. Like the two 5-1 defeats to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

“Of course, you can lose. That can happen to any team at any time – but it was how they lost that I found hard to accept.

“That is why I found the FA Cup Final ­performance interesting.

“It was like all of a sudden, in one game, there is something to play for and we saw the whole team perform. That was very rare last season. Now that mentality has to change and if it means the club have to break their salary cap, so be it.”

Petit will also watch the progress of Chelsea in the coming season now that they have the significant challenge of Champions League football.

Petit believes the Gunners can mount a title charge (Photo: EFL)

Manager Antonio Conte was able to mastermind a title surge without the ­distraction of European combat.


And Petit said: “You have no idea the extra workload European football brings. You are playing every three days, not once a week.

“Last season, Chelsea could sit back and watch on television as Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham and Leicester were playing in Europe. It is a big advantage as Leicester proved the ­season before.

“Now Chelsea are involved – and it will make a big ­difference to them.”

Emmanuel Petit was speaking on behalf of energy drink brand, Carabao and the EFL, at the first round draw of the Carabao Cup. Follow the Carabao Cup on Facebook for highlights.

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