A former Gunners midfielder has suggested a Liverpool legend would be the right man to inherit the managerial reins at his old club
Emmanuel Petit has expressed his belief that it has been “time for Unai Emery to leave Arsenal”, while backing Rangers boss Steven Gerrard to come in and steady the ship at Emirates Stadium.
The pressure has been mounting on Emery after a six-match winless streak across all competitions which has seen the Gunners exit the Carabao Cup and slip to sixth in the Premier League.
A 2-0 defeat at Leicester City on Saturday left Arsenal eight points adrift of the Champions League places, with a crucial home fixture against Southampton up next after the international break.
Some fans and experts have already suggested Emery’s time at the Emirates has been up, with no significant progress made at the club since his appointment in the summer of 2018.
Petit has been among those endorsing the Spaniard’s potential departure, with it his belief that Arsenal “need a great leader” in the mould of Gerrard, who has helped Rangers emerge as title contenders in Scotland once again.
“The club needs a great leader now,” Petit told Paddy Power. “Someone who can bring back the passion, someone respected by the players, someone who can fill the team with energy and the winning mentality.
“Steven Gerrard, for example, has been like this.
“I want to see passion, emotion. Someone who, when he takes your hand, you can feel the electricity.
“I want someone who can bring that to the Arsenal dressing room, because they need to wake up.”
The Frenchman thinks that the majority of the Arsenal squad have already “given up on Emery” and that a change in the dugout has been a necessity for the club to start moving in the right direction.
“I believe it’s time for Unai Emery to leave Arsenal,” Petit said. “The results are not good at all. I don’t recognise this team anymore and I don’t recognise this club anymore.
“Arsene Wenger built this club for 20 years and there was concern as generation after generation came and went. But now they look like an average team without any inspiration or creativity – and I don’t think that’s solely down to the players.
“My opinion has been that most of the players have given up on Emery, so it’s time for him to go.”
Former Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri and ex-Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho have been tipped to replace Emery at Arsenal in recent weeks, but Petit feels a club legend would be a better fit for the role.
“People may laugh at me but I wouldn’t mind seeing a former soccer professional on the bench,” he added.
“Is there a former Arsenal great you can call, like Thierry Henry or Patrick Vieira? Pick one: there are so many. You even have Freddie Ljungberg already in the dugout.
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“Patrick has done a very good job over two years at Nice, though you don’t know what’s going to happen at that club as they’ve just been bought out by Ineos and Jim Ratcliffe.
“So, we’ll need to wait a few months to see what’s going on there.”
Petit concluded by throwing one more high-profile name into the mix: “I’m also watching closely what’s happening at Napoli with Carlo Ancelotti. I think he would be a very good manager for Arsenal.”