Petit calls for clear-out

Ex-Gunners midfielder warns Arsenal must overhaul squad

Emmanuel Petit: Former Arsenal midfielder believes it is time for an overhaul at Emirates Stadium

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Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit has told Arsene Wenger he must release any under-performing stars if he is going to win silverware.

The 41-year-old, who spent three years with the Gunners, was an interested spectator as AC Milan registered a 4-0 first-leg advantage over his former club in the UEFA Champions League last-16.

And the Frenchman insists there will need to be a lot of changes at Emirates Stadium if trophies are going to be won.

Petit, a World Cup winner in 1998, believes Wenger must look at parting company with some of his big names to make room for established players and is adamant that changes should be made with immediate effect.

End of the cycle

"We shouldn't hesitate to talk about the end of the cycle," he told sofoot.com. "Regardless of age, we have to look seriously at certain players. Right now."

Petit, famed at Highbury for his partnership with Patrick Viera at the heart of midfield, highlighted Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey, Andrey Arshavin and Tomas Rosicky as key men who are failing to live up to their potential.

"You have to send out a strong signal. You have to say to Arshavin, and to Rosicky: 'Gentlemen, thank you, but goodbye'. And soon."

Emmanuel Petit

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"Certain young players haven't done enough to justify the confidence that Arsene has in them," he added.

"Walcott, somehow he's going to have to reach the next stage. It's been years that he's been at the same level.

Experience

"Ramsey, against Milan, I got the impression it was his twin brother on the pitch. In the way they behave, in their body language, we see they're not there anymore."

The France international believes now is the time for Wenger to look to the future and insists his compatriot must be firm if he is going to get the message across.

"You have to send out a strong signal. You have to say to Arshavin, and to Rosicky: 'Gentlemen, thank you, but goodbye'. And soon," he said.

"What's needed is five or six players of real stature, great experience. Players between 27 and 30-years-old at most.

"Players with technical qualities, obviously, but also strong character. A group of guys who refuse to accept defeat, who inspire confidence in the rest of the team."