Arsenal have been left “in a little bit of a mess”, admits Ian Wright, with mismanagement and bemusing decisions on important contracts leaving the Gunners playing catch-up.
Over the course of the last 18 months, those in north London have been faced with a number of big calls.
Alexis Sanchez and Jack Wilshere were allowed to move on, while Mesut Ozil was handed a lucrative extension to his terms at Emirates Stadium.
Aaron Ramsey has since become another to run down his deal, with the Wales international heading to Serie A champions Juventus as a free agent.
A change in the dugout has been made, but Unai Emery has no more money to spend then Arsene Wenger was given, and Arsenal find themselves treading water as a result.
Club legend Wright told talkSPORT of a team heading towards a third successive season without Champions League football: “Decisions were being made, in respect of Aaron Ramsey’s contract, before it was starting to run down and were being made by people who were no longer there.
“They’ve gone on to pastures new and left Arsenal in a little bit of a mess.
“In the contracts they’ve given people, it was very top heavy in the squad and we can see that in the way the guys are performing.
“As much as Arsenal have to take a massive amount of blame for that, there was a stage where they must have known he was not going to sign.
“So we are talking about a £60 million player that should have been a case of ‘OK, we will have to sell you now’ and not let it get to a stage where it has got to.
“You have to look at Aaron Ramsey as well. He’s getting to a situation in his career where he can run down a contract and Arsenal made him an offer that was a good offer but when you consider what he has been able to get and has been documented he has got, then there’s no way are you going to be able to match that.
“If he knew he was going to get that there was no way he was going to sign.”
Wright added on the challenges facing the Gunners: “I remember having arguments with Arsenal fans and trying to say to them ‘we are in danger here’, ‘we are going to be in problems like thinking about finishing fourth’ and ‘are we going to be challenging anymore?’
“I remember saying those things, but people don’t want to hear it at the time and we are in that situation now.
“Right now Arsenal are in a position where it is interesting what is going to happen in the summer without the money to spend or qualifying for the Champions League and going back into the Europa League. Have the players improved? Has the mentality improved? What system is he going to play now?
“There’s a lot of questions to be asked and you just have to hope something happens.”