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Arsenal legend criticises club’s academy as reason behind failure

Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit has argued that the club’s academy is to blame for their lack of progress and believes it needs a shake up.

The former French international has been particularly vocal this past week regarding the Gunners, as he previously suggested that the time is right for Arsene Wenger to step aside this summer, as noted by Sky Sports.

In an additional part of that interview, Petit has revealed that an over-reliance on youth players is to blame for the lack of success that the north London giants have experienced in recent years.

After crashing out of the FA Cup and Champions League over the past seven days, Wenger’s only hope of silverware this season is the Premier League title. However, his side are 11 points adrift of Leicester City with nine games remaining, and they certainly have it all to do in order to turn that deficit around.

However, Petit believes that the club’s culture and philosophy is to blame, and insists that it should be scrapped in order to bring back success on a consistent basis.

“Arsenal’s academy policy is very good, up until a certain point – there is a limit,” he said. “There are a lot of players coming from the academy who are good but they have failed to improve over the last three or four years.

“This has been a big disappointment for me. Players like Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere are constantly injured and they are not improving.

“They are good, but not that good, that is why they need something else in the dressing room.”

Petit isn’t the first high profile former player to insist that the Gunners need experience and leadership, and that, he believes, can only come through signing top players from around Europe.

However, his point about the likes of Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Wilshere is certainly interesting, as it is perhaps a viewpoint that some are too apprehensive to argue and something that Wenger will defiantly disagree with and stand by his players.

Nevertheless, the fact is that those young players haven’t gone on to the next level after showing great potential, and while Wenger will receive the brunt of criticism, perhaps it is the players that he should expect more from who have ultimately let him down.

With Arsenal spending big on the likes of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez in recent seasons, it remains to be seen whether or not those were merely anomalies or given their improved financial position after being burdened by the costs of building the Emirates Stadium, it is a sign of things to come in the years ahead.

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