Patrick Vieira has shared some controversial views on Arsenal’s quiet start to the season, admitting that the team is entertaining but lacks “presence” and “personality” on the field.
After a goalless draw against Leicester at the King Power Stadium, Arsene Wenger is under scrutiny for his spending patterns. The Frenchman is currently reported to be in pursuit of Valencia’s defender, Shkodran Mustafi, but a price tag of £50 million has now forced him to look elsewhere.
Vieira has reiterated the perceived failings in the transfer market and remains unimpressed by the current player choices made by his former boss, feeling the side lacks a physical edge.
“My generation had lots of physically strong players. In this last five or six years, Arsenal went more with this type of mobile, technical players,” The former Gunners captain told Sky Sports.
“When I watch Arsenal, yes they play good football. But I just have a feeling they are missing something – the physical presence, the personality.
“But on the other side the team is not doing as good as it used to and you need to win football matches. They’ve been disappointing, losing games they should have won.”
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Gunners failed to respond to the challenge of beating Leicester in the title race last season, and haven’t fared well in the current campaign so far. Wenger’s side started the season with a 4-3 home defeat to Liverpool, and managed to earn only a single point over the weekend.
Three-time Premier League champion, Vieira, has expressed his concern over a lack of role models in the form of former players at the club.
“I’m disappointed not to have ex-Arsenal players working at Arsenal,” he added.
“It is good for the young players who could see a Thierry Henry, a Freddie Ljungberg, a Sol Campbell or a Martin Keown who have been at the club a good few years working in the academy, or working somewhere. I think they can do it a bit more.
“Players want to do it but do not have the opportunity. I don’t understand it. The perfect example is Ajax. You see all the old players working for the club, on the field, in the office – the door is always open for them – but Arsenal don’t do it and I don’t know why.”
Former players like Tony Adams, Thierry Henry and Robert Pires do join current Arsenal squad in training from time to time, but a much more regular presence is needed at the club to create a positive impact on the team.