Wenger must splash the cash, says Pires
Former Gunner urges club to prepare for life without Sanchez and Oezil
With the future of Mesut Oezil and Alexis Sanchez very much in doubt, Arsenal face the prospect of losing their two best players as early as January.
Former Arsenal and France midfielder Robert Pires urges the Gunners to sign reinforcements before that happens.
The 44-year-old, who will feature in next Saturday's Battle of the Masters tournament involving Arsenal, Liverpool and Singapore at the National Stadium, hopes that his ex-club won't fall further back in their quest to end their title drought.
Forward Sanchez and midfielder Oezil have been linked with other clubs as they enter the final year of their contracts.
Gunners manager Arsene Wenger has even threatened to let the pair leave for free if they refuse to sign new deals.
Speaking to the media at the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport hotel yesterday, Pires said: "I don't know what's happened to Sanchez and Oezil, but it'll be hard for Arsenal if they lose these two players because they both play important roles in the team.
"But if it happens, I think it's very important to spend the money and buy new players. Maybe even build something new for Arsenal."
Pires played under Wenger from 2000 to 2006, during which the Gunners won two Premier League titles in 2001-02 and 2003-04.
They were unbeaten in the latter season, winning 26 games. But that was the last time Arsenal won the Premier League.
"Wenger out" protests by Arsenal fans were all the rage last season following their failure to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in 20 years, with many criticising the 68-year-old Frenchman for the slow start to this season as well.
"It's strange because now, the fans have split when it comes to Arsenal and Arsene Wenger.
"For me, it is a shame because he's a good manager and a good person who has built something at Arsenal for 21 years."
If Wenger is not to be blamed, then should the players shoulder responsibility for the club's underachievement in recent years?
Pires replied: "There is a lot of pressure to perform well at a high level. The players definitely want to push themselves to win something.
"It is not just one or two teams that have the capability to win the Premier League, we're talking about six or seven teams here, which is why it's so difficult."
As much as Pires hopes for his former club to win this season's Premier League, he is aware that other challengers, particularly Manchester City, have an edge.
He said: "It is hard to say if Arsenal can win the league this season, but it is important that the players fight till the end.
"Arsenal are going to have a good test on Sunday when they play against Man City away, because City have been on fire.
"If Arsenal are going to show that they can win the league, the test against City will show how much they want it."
On France, Pires feels that Didier Deschamps' side, who reached last year's European Championship final, lack tenacity despite having depth.
Pires, who won the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 with Les Bleus, said: "In football, you need more than just talent. France have players with good technique.
"But if you want to compete at a high level, you need a good mix of talent, fighting spirit, and warriors who will push themselves further."