Arsene Wenger has been signing the wrong type of players for the last five or six years, former club captain Patrick Vieira claims.
Vieira, who now coaches New York FC in the MLS, won two Premier League titles under Wenger during a nine-year-stay at Arsenal.
The 40-year-old also captained the Invincible Arsenal side to the club’s last title win in 2003-2004 and believes the current side lack the blend of physicality, pace and technical proficiency of successful teams of old.
“My generation had lots of physically strong players. In this last five or six years, Arsenal went more with this type of technical players.
“The Invincibles had it all. For me, it was like the French national team in 1998, when we had physical players with flair, with pace, it was a similar team.
“Now when I watch Arsenal, yes they play good football, but I just have a feeling they are missing something – the physical presence, the personality.”
Vieira also criticised Arsenal’s failure to incorporate more of its former players onto the club’s coaching staff.
Thierry Henry recently left his casual coaching role at the club – despite offering to work for free – after Wenger demanded he give up his punditry duty, with Freddie Ljunberg tipped to replace him.
Vieira has worked at Manchester City since 2011 and the former midfielder believes Arsenal need to afford more former players similar opportunities.
“It is good for the young players who could see a Thierry Henry, a Ljungberg, a Sol Campbell or a 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.”
Arsenal currently sit 12th in the Premier League after taking just one point from their opening two games.
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