Arsenal legends respond to Gary Neville's criticism of Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger Big Coat

Lee Dixon and David Seaman stood up for their former manager after the Manchester United legend questioned why Wenger hadn't recruited a certain kind of midfielder.

Manchester United legend Gary Neville aimed an accusation at Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger during Monday night's 0-0 draw with Liverpool on Sky Sports, labelling the Frenchman either naive or arrogant in his decision not to replace the likes of Gunners legend Patrick Vieira when he left the club in 2005 with similarly powerful central midfield players.

"I just cannot get my head around why he would not sign players of power to assist these talented players that you've got to enable them to win the league," Neville said on Sky Sports.

"It's the one big black mark that I've got over Arsene Wenger these last 10 years - why he hasn't identified the issue with these types of players in central midfield because they cannot win the league with these types of players.

"I think it's arrogance, I really do. To think that you're not going to adapt your team to change to impact on another team's strengths. It's either naive or arrogance because they keep losing this way."

It was a claim that many football fans would find themselves agreeing with, but there are plenty that think the former England international was wide of the mark when it comes to how Wenger has played the market in the last ten years, with two Arsenal greats instead insisting that Neville was oversimplifying the problem of replacing a player as impressive as Vieira.

David Seaman, who played with Nevile for England in the late 90s, told BreatheSport that "players like Patrick [Vieira] don't come around too often and I'm sure that if Arsene saw one like him he would buy him."

Fellow ex England fullback Lee Dixon was also quick to leap to the defence of his former manager, echoing the sentiments of his old teammate Seaman in telling BreatheSport that the World Cup winner wasn't an easy man to replace.

"The trouble is, there are not many Vieiras about," Dixon said. "Priorities seemed to have laid elsewhere with Arsene and he is now relying on the relatively inexperienced Francis Coquelin. Arrogance is not the right word"

Dixon then went to bat the question back to Neville as to whether Manchester United have successfully replaced a midfield master of their own.

Arguably, Arsene Wenger did have a powerful and authoritative midfielder at the club when Vieira left in Gilberto Silva, before selling the Brazilian in 2008, arguably too early considering he played for his national team for another two years.

However, in the majority of the years since then, the Gunners have struggled when it came to boasting an imposing central midfielder who protected his back four while also having the potential to come forward.

Though Francis Coquelin has done a good job since coming into the Arsenal midfield last Christmas, it is clear there are some people that think central midfield is an area that needs strengthening, and it has done for a long time.

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