Former Arsenal defender Sol Campbell believes Arsene Wenger must change his transfer policy if the club are to be a force in Europe again.
The Gunners look likely to finish the season without a trophy for the eighth year in a row after losses to lower-league opposition Bradford City in the League Cup and Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup, while a heavy 3-1 home defeat to Bayern Munich leaves their Champions League hopes hanging by a thread.
Arsenal lost key player Robin van Persie to Premier League leaders Manchester United last summer in a 24-million-pound deal, and Campbell – after seeing the impact the 29-year-old has made at Old Trafford – feels similar bold moves in the transfer market could help the Gunners progress.
“You have to give him immense credit for what he has done and it has been overlooked that while they have not done well in the cups, they have been consistent in the league,” Campbell said.
“But maybe there has to be a change regarding transfers. It should be done on a more case-by-case fashion. I think the fans deserve that.
“Sir Alex Ferguson clearly looked at what United could win if they had Van Persie and decided that if they succeed, that would justify the fee.”
Arsenal visit Tottenham – another of Campbell’s previous clubs – in the north London derby on Sunday, and the former centre-back has warned the more inexperienced players to be extra vigilant during the occasion.
“It will be a test for Arsenal at Tottenham, no question. Players like Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla, who are playing at Tottenham for the first time, will need to be ready for that first 20 minutes which can be so intense,” he said.
“You have to be ready for that or you can be one or two goals down. You have to do your homework.
“Gareth Bale has been in great form and Arsenal need to be alert to that. They have to be ready, take him to areas where he can do no damage, and they will be aware of the threat posed on the other wing by Aaron Lennon.
“Tottenham will need to be focused and switched on as much as Arsenal and I feel the match could well be decided in the last 20 minutes. It is vital that both teams maintain their levels of concentration.”