Why would top players want to sign for Arsenal? No success or ambition mean Gunners are not an attractive club


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IT kills me to say this as an Arsenal fan, but my old club are not an attractive destination any more for the top, top players.

Why would the leading players who can have a real impact in the Premier League and improve that Arsenal team come to the Emirates?

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N’Golo Kante rejected Arsenal this summer in favour of Chelsea

And I don’t base this on the fact that Arsenal look like they won’t qualify for the Champions League next season.

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Not being in the Champions League didn’t stop N’Golo Kante joining Chelsea from Leicester last summer.

It didn’t stop Zlatan Ibrahimovic joining Manchester United. Kante was the hottest thing on the market last summer — and he chose to join Chelsea, not Arsenal who also wanted him.

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic joined Manchester United despite them failing to qualify for the Champions League

The Gunners had finished second in the Premier League, Chelsea in mid-table but still the brilliant little midfielder chose the Blues — and it turns out, he was not wrong. He is about to win the league and possibly a Double.

All the elite players want to play in the Champions League — you want to test yourself against the best — but he decided that a season out of it was not going to kill his career.

But it is a factor when you are deciding where to move to.

It’s hard to compare eras but when I was at Arsenal in my early days there was a lot of interest in joining the club.

And we could compete financially — maybe not with Manchester United — but with the rest.

But now the money is spread about due to the TV deal and lots of clubs can compete for the top players.

So you need to offer something else, to show that you can satisfy the expectations of leading talent.

Yes, wages come into it. It is a job after all and as a player you get what you can — like anyone in any walk of life.

But competition for trophies is the key. If you are a director of football and you work for Arsenal, how do you attract a big player?

I’m not suggesting people aren’t doing their jobs at Arsenal — just that selling the club has become increasingly difficult over the last two or three years.

I don’t see anything to attract the big players.

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Alexis Sanchez is putting the decision on his future on hold as the club struggle in the Premier League

The club has money, we are told, so the wages must be on offer. And yes, London is great, the stadium is great.

But it’s not just money, London or a shiny stadium. It’s the chances of success.

How do you make superstars join when Barca, Real, Munich are sniffing about?

I don’t know why Kante ended up at Chelsea but he didn’t think Arsenal was a solution for him.

Ironically, last season he lost twice to the Gunners — but still didn’t want to join.

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Luis Suarez could have been an Arsenal player if the Gunners upped their bid

Jamie Vardy refused to join Arsenal too. He preferred to stay at Leicester.

If Man United had come in for Vardy would he have joined them? That’s an interesting question.

Apparently Arsenal have £200million to spend in the summer. But who are they going to get?

Every club has a wish list with first choices, second choices and so on.

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Jamie Vardy opted to stay at Leicester and reject joining Arsenal

I don’t know who has been on Arsenal’s list over recent years but I’m sure that some of the players who joined were not top of their list.

You work with what you can get of course. But Arsenal are not just up against the Barcas, Reals and Manchester Uniteds. Now Juventus are back paying big fees, Paris Saint-Germain are spending.

What can Arsenal put on the table to beat those teams to talent? It won’t help that there is uncertainty over the two star players in Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.

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Are they staying or going? Other players will look at that and wonder why they are hesitating to commit to the club.

And, of course, players talk to each other. If Neymar called Sanchez tomorrow and said: ‘Should I join Arsenal?’ what would he say?

You try to find out what a club is like. And when you’re with the national team it comes up.

The feedback at the moment from Arsenal wouldn’t be great. You only need to look at the results to determine that.

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To be attractive again they have to win titles again.

Easier said than done of course, but when you win, you’re sexy.

Success attracts top players. It’s contagious. And then when you lose that becomes a disease too. Arsene said recently that there is only one club in London.

And yes, for me there is. I’m an Arsenal fan. I will die saying that.

But you need to be honest. For Kante there was more than one club in London and he chose Chelsea.

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And he wasn’t looking at past successes, trophy cabinets or history, but how attractive the move was.

Kante is not an Arsenal fan or a Chelsea fan, he’s a fan of winning. And he clearly made the right choice.

There’s even another team down the road in London who some people might see as a promising destination now — although I don’t know why!

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