Wenger’s transfer standards have slipped at Arsenal, claims Graham

George Graham says Arsene Wenger's failure to bring in top-class talent is the main reason behind Arsenal's recent struggles

santi cazorla
Santi Cazorla has been one of Arsene Wenger's impressive signings Photo: Back Page Images

santi cazorla

George Graham believes that Arsene Wenger’s failure to bring in top-class talent in the transfer market is the main reason behind Arsenal’s recent struggles.

The Gunners, who are currently fifth in the Premier League table and 24 points behind leaders Manchester United, are fighting to secure a top-four finish with 10 league games left to play.

Questions have been raised over Wenger’s dealings in the transfer market in recent seasons, with the likes of Park Chu-Young and Marouane Chamakh failing to impress after sealing moves to The Emirates.

And former Arsenal manager Graham, who led the Gunners to two top-flight titles and an FA Cup during his time in charge of the north Londoners, feels that his former employers are failing to attract the big names to the club.

“The last few seasons, the standard has slipped because the players coming into the club, in my opinion, are inferior to the players that were there seven years ago,” Graham told talkSPORT.

“His first spell at the club was phenomenal. Three League Championships, four FA Cups, finishing in the top four for 15 years – that is a phenomenal record. But he has raised his own bar and he has to ask himself if he has fallen a little bit.

“It’s all about players. If you are a great manager, it’s down to the players you put on the pitch. Arsenal have never been big spenders. When Wenger first came to the club, he was buying them at bargain prices and making them into world-class players.

“He has been brilliant with what he has achieved at the club – building a new stadium, building a new training ground. But the last few seasons it’s been slipping away gradually. The onus is now on finishing in the top four, whereas before the onus was on winning the Premier League.

“The first thing you have got to ask is who is bringing the players to the club? Is it Arsene or is it the scouting staff? Who has he got, not just in England, but all around the world?

“You’ve got to ask who is bringing in the players of the quality that was brought in during his first six or seven years at the club. That has been the problem. The quality coming in now is not of the quality it was when he first came.”

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