Time for change?
'Wenger cannot keep allowing his star names to depart'
Last Updated: August 21, 2012 1:15pm
John Richardson told the Sunday Supplement that Arsenal have grown "stale" and that Arsene Wenger may have to leave his role as manager.
"I hate saying this about Wenger but you can smell the staleness at Arsenal and something is not right."
John Richardson Quotes of the week
The Gunners have failed to register a trophy since the 2005 FA Cup and saw Robin van Persie (Manchester United) and Alex Song (Barcelona) seal big-money moves away from the Emirates during the last few days, 12 months after Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy departed.
Wenger's charges began their Premier League campaign with a 0-0 draw at home to Sunderland on Saturday, and Express writer Richardson says Arsenal fans should be concerned.
"Arsene Wenger has got to look at himself as he might be balancing the books at home," said Richardson. "He is a great manager, one of the greatest the Premier League has ever seen, but he hasn't won anything for seven years.
"If a great rock star like Bruce Springsteen doesn't make any decent material for seven years, you say: 'Well, I'm not buying any of his records'. But he is doing new stuff and is still at the top of his profession.
"I hate saying this about Wenger but you can smell the staleness and something is not right - and you can't keep on selling your best players; it's almost asset stripping.
"It's okay if you bring in better players or players of equal standard, but that's not happening. Arsenal's players aren't good enough and they don't compare to the greats of the past - and I think they will be in trouble if this continues.
"They are nowhere near title contenders and I think they've got a hell of a fight to get into the top four. The 60,000 fans hadn't come to boo [against Sunderland on Saturday] but they were by the end because what they had seen was very poor.
"Arsenal played pretty football but there was no finishing. It was anaemic and it is very worrying if you are an Arsenal supporter."
Henry Winter shares Richardson's opinion that Arsenal cannot be considered as a threat for the Premier League title - and thinks it could be some time before they are.
However, the Telegraph scribe believes some of the Londoners' new arrivals will make their mark alongside the club's clutch of young English talent.
"You can't put 'title' and 'Arsenal' in the same sentence as they probably won't come close to competing for the Premier League for another 10 years," said Winter.
"They are fighting for third or fourth, but it's ludicrous to suggest there is a crisis at a club that is so well run off the pitch by the manager and board.
"Santi Cazorla looked good against Sunderland; Lukas Podolski, who will probably play on the left, has something about him - you don't play 100 times for Germany by the age of 26 if you don't; while they also have three of the best young English talents in the country.
"Jack Wilshere will give them a bit of grit, intelligence and vision; they've got Theo Walcott, who they need to tie down to a longer-term contract; and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who last year was one of the most revered young players in the country."