Emmanuel Petit: Arsenal's David Luiz 'not a proper footballer', says Gunners legend

David Luiz's Arsenal contract expires at the end of June

Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit says David Luiz being given a new contract shows how far the club has fallen, with most players not fit to wear the shirt.

Luiz's deal was due to expire on June 30, but he has extended his stay until the summer of 2021.

The Brazilian has faced especially strong criticism since enduring a disastrous first game back after the restart, as he gifted Manchester City two goals and was sent-off in a 3-0 defeat.

"David Luiz hasn't been a proper footballer for about three years. But I'm not surprised that he has been given a new contract at Arsenal, because I've been very disappointed in relation to the club's activity in the transfer market," said Petit, who won the double with the Gunners in 1997-98.

"I've been particularly upset in relation to the defenders. We all know one of Arsenal's major weaknesses is their defence and nothing has changed. This makes me miss Arsene Wenger.

"If I was David Luiz, of course I would sign a new deal and I would also say a prayer of thanks to the Arsenal directors every time I wake up. Even when he last won the Premier League with Chelsea, he's not the same player any more. This guy has lost something.

"To be honest, it's a joke. Find some proper defenders. Are you telling me there are no young talented defenders on the market? I just don't get it."

Petit enjoyed a hugely successful club career with Monaco, Arsenal, Barcelona and Chelsea.

But it his time alongside Patrick Vieira in midfield for both the Gunners and France, with whom they won the World Cup in 1998 and Euro 2000, that he is best remembered.

And he says it makes him sad to see what's happening at the Emirates now.

Emmanuel Petit (right) and Patrick Vieira in action for Arsenal against Spurs in 1999

"Does anyone think the Arsenal executives and directors know what they're doing on the football side of things? For the last few years they have been splashing out on the transfer market - and have brought in some decent players - but I don't know what their target or project for the future is," Petit continued.

"It's far worse now than in the last years under Wenger. What is the point of being one of the richest clubs on the planet with no reason or vision behind it?

"Arsenal look like an average team with no spirit, with no anger or pride. I saw them against Brighton at the end of the game, trying to fight Neal Maupay, but that made me laugh.

"Against Brighton I was so annoyed about the behaviour of the players that I wished I could be in the dressing room to say something. No-one is doing that in the team. There are no leaders, no characters.

"The spirit we had in our team, with Patrick Vieira, Tony Adams, Nigel Winterburn, Ray Parlour - it has been gone for a long time. Arsenal have some very good players but we need personality."

"I wish Mikel Arteta good luck because I think he's a quality manager but just like Unai Emery and Wenger, what is he supposed to do with these players?"

'Aubameyang should leave Arsenal'

Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang before facing Man City at the Etihad

Petit also has some words of advice for Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has been linked with a host of top European clubs with his contract due to expire next summer.

"If I was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, I would leave Arsenal. There is some quality in this team but when you arrive at the club nowadays you want to do great things. But, come on guys, Arsenal is not the same any more. It's becoming an average club," he said.

"I feel so sorry for the fans and all the people who love the club. I feel sorry for the former players that try to uphold the Arsenal reputation.

"But I don’t feel sorry for the players - I think 75% of them at the club at the moment don't deserve to wear that shirt. They should look at themselves in the mirror and show some pride."

*For more from Paddy Power’s columnists, visit: news.paddypower.com

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