Arsenal legend Tony Woodcock believes the club will never win the Premier League again... unless they sign a top striker!
But the former England man is adamant the Gunners made the right decision offloading Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Barcelona, even on a free transfer.
Aubameyang scored 92 goals in 163 games for the north London outfit, but that didn’t stop boss Mikel Arteta sensationally stripping him off the captaincy after a string of disciplinary breaches and it wasn’t long before the Gabon forward was shown the door on Deadline Day as his Gunners career came to an unhappy end.
“They definitely need to sign a striker,” stressed Woodcock.
“It was obviously a really difficult decision letting Aubameyang go, but no one player is bigger than the club.
“He was the captain, the club’s top-earner and a proven goalscorer.
“But Sir Alex Ferguson wouldn't have let that happen in his day – and the club have made a big statement by letting him go.
“He’s 32, but was he committed the club? I understand he had one or two problems at his previous club Borussia Dortmund and then you hear he’s not turned up for training. You just can’t do that.
“But if you’re going to challenge for titles you need the best players – and a top striker.”
Woodcock enjoyed a fine career at Highbury and was famously the Gunners’ top-scorer for three successive seasons. A European Cup winner with Notts Forest under Brian Clough in 1979, the 66-year-old is well-versed on what’s needed to win silverware.
“Arsenal have always been a top four club and their fans are used to Champions League football,” added Woodcock.
“But when you’re not playing in the Champions League it’s a lot harder to attract the top players.
“The really top players want to play in the competition and earn the best wages.
Pinged this one in at Hampden in 1984.
Left foot like a traction engine...
“Unfortunately Arsenal have struggled in the last few years and don’t look like winning the Premier League or qualifying for the Champions League.”
Arsenal last qualified for the Champions League in 2016, but they have been missing from the competition ever since.
“Realistically Arsenal’s only hopes of winning anything is cups, the FA Cup or League Cup,” offered Woodcock.
“But the real question for me is what do the club’s owners want? Do they want to win the Premier League? And are they going to put a structure in place to do that?
“Arsenal fans were treated to success under Arsene Wenger, but I’m not really sure the right succession plans were put in place before he left.
“It’s a shame because the club have experienced a lot of success. But you have to build for the future to achieve success.”
There’s no doubting the Gunners have a string of top young stars including Emile Smith Rowe – currently their leading scorer, England ace Bukayo Saka and Brazilian striker Gabriel Martinelli.
And with proven experience in Frenchman Alexandre Lacazette, Ghanaian Thomas Partey and Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka, the former Premier League champions have strength throughout their squad.
But Woodcock, who has recently played in a key role in bringing back Masters football, is convinced it will be a fair while before the Gunners taste domestic success.
“It would be fantastic to see Arsenal win the league again, that’s what we all want,” admitted Woodcock.
“The club need a strong structure and concept, but ultimately it’s about results on the field.”