There have been six additions to the senior squad at Emirates Stadium since a new manager took the helm, but few have inspired much confidence
Many of the players acquired by Arsenal are “poor”, according to Charlie Nicholas, with a lack of productivity in the transfer market and mismanagement behind the scenes ensuring that the club remain “bog standard average”.
Arsene Wenger was keen to keep a close eye on the purse strings during his iconic reign with the Gunners, and little has changed under his successor Unai Emery.
No funds were made available in January, with Denis Suarez the only arrival on a loan deal from Barcelona.
More business was done in the summer of 2018, but Arsenal refused to break the bank when bringing in Bernd Leno, Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Stephan Lichtsteiner.
Value has been found in some of those recruits but Nicholas believes they have done little to raise the collective quality, telling Sky Sports: “The players that the manager has brought in are average.
“The goalkeeper [Leno] has got a chance but plays behind a really bad defence. Torreira and Guendouzi, the youngster, have done okay.
“Lichtsteiner? Not good enough, don’t need him. Sokratis? The same, not been good enough.
“So far in the transfer window these are the manager’s signings – three have been poor and three have been okay. That’s a reflection of where we are going.
“He brings in Suarez and doesn’t accommodate a defender. I can’t accept that he’s going down the right direction right now. It’s reality. We are bog standard average.”
Nicholas believes the problems at Arsenal, who have been unable to shake their inconsistencies this season, rest on the shoulders of the club’s board, not Emery.
The former Gunners striker added: “They have a manager that I like what he is trying to do and I feel for him. We need to give him at least two seasons to clarify whether he is going to be good enough or not.
Article continues below
“This controlled leadership, we have an owner in America who is interested but doesn’t want to be hands on.
“Last season, Arsene Wenger leaving, [Ivan] Gazidis turned around and said it was time for revolution at Arsenal, be prepared for change in everything. He leaves four months later. It’s a mess. There is no leadership, no guidance.”
Arsenal remain in the hunt for a top-four finish in the Premier League, but sit outside of those places at present, while a 1-0 defeat to BATE in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 encounter has put a dent in their continental aspirations.