Arsenal legend Robert Pires has told Gunners boss Unai Emery he needs to sign more English players in the January transfer window.
Emery needs to improve results ahead of Arsenal’s Premier League clash at home to Southampton on Saturday, with the North Londoners eight points off the Champions League places in sixth spot.
The Gunners’ form has not improved since the end of Arsene Wenger’s reign as manager, and Pires says a lack of English players in the team is holding the Gunners back.
Former France midfielder Pires played with several English Arsenal greats during his six years at the club, winning two Premier League titles and two FA Cups.
Rob Holding and Calum Chambers were the only Englishmen to start in Arsenal’s most recent match, a 2-0 defeat at Leicester .
Emery’s summer recruits mainly came from outside the UK, with Nicolas Pepe, Gabriel Martinelli and Dani Ceballos all signing – although the Gunners boss did sign Scottish left-back Kieran Tierney from Celtic, while Brazilian defender David Luiz switched from Chelsea after a total of six years playing in the Premier League.
And while Emery has the likes of youngsters Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson and Bukayo Saka in their ranks, Pires feels Arsenal must bring in more experienced English players who understand what it means to wear the shirt.
“We need English players because we are in England and nobody else has grown up with this mentality,” said Pires in an interview with The Athletic .
“You need to be born here. It’s very nice when you get to discover new countries but for me when you play in England you need English players.”
Pires added: “It’s a different time. But I used to play with David Seaman, Lee Dixon, Tony Adams, Martin Keown, Ashley Cole, Ray Parlour.”