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Jul 20, 2012

Graham: Arsenal no longer contenders

George Graham has questioned Arsenal's ambitions, suggesting the club should come clean to their supporters that they can no longer compete with the top teams in the Premier League, and explained why Arsene Wenger has to sell Robin van Persie.

• Wenger keen for FFP impact

Graham believes the fans need to be told the truth that the club have been left behind in their ability to compete financially - and that means the trophy drought may go on for some time yet.

The former Gunners boss said: 'You have to sell Van Persie and move on, and Arsenal need to tell everybody that they can't compete on the financial aspect, that they can't compete with Chelsea, Manchester City, even Manchester United.

"If the club have to sell their top player they also have to tell their fans it has to be done this way. Last year it dragged on with [Cesc] Fabregas and players were brought in late and Arsenal had a bad start, culminating with an eight-goal hammering at Old Trafford.

"With Van Persie it needs to be done and dusted, he has made his statement, he has said the club lack ambition so the club need to get the best offer they can and move on. Van Persie has another year left on his contact and Arsenal tried to negotiate.

"The way it works is they would have come to him with an offer six months ago, but he is not prepared to talk about the finances. He knows he can get a better offer elsewhere but it's not just about an offer it is about winning trophies and Arsenal haven't won a trophy for five or six years and that comes into the equation, whether the club are ambitious enough."

Graham is not actually blaming Arsenal for their current predicament. He added on Sports Talk Tonight TV: "What more could Arsenal have done with Van Persie? I am not sure they could have done more, or if I would have done it any differently."

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