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Name Ray Parlour
Spelling The Romford Pele
Gender Male
Ethnic English
Job English Footballer
Desc Ray Parlour, affectionately known as ‘The Romford Pele’, embodied the transformation Arsenal underwent under Arsene Wenger. Parlour had been expected to be one of the first names out the door under the Frenchman but instead stayed on to vastly improve as a player

Affiliation

Org xxxx National Team
Club as Player Arsenal FC

2015 08 20 Retrieve

[Ray Parlour on Thierry Henry] Character-wise, Thierry Henry was a winner, you could tell that straight away. But he had everything on the ball as well, he had skill, trickery, he could go past a player, and he had an eye for goal

2015 08 21 Retrieve

[Ray Parlour on Thierry Henry] He always had so much talent but he improved so much. He was an athlete as well - 6’1, 6’2 but he could run once he got into his stride. He was an absolutely fantastic player. But his finishing - that was his main strength

2016 02 14 Retrieve

[On Gianfranco Zola] Little Franco was [….] a brilliant No.10 who would open teams up with a simple but deadly pass

2016 02 18 Retrieve

[Quotes on Paul Gascoigne] We all loved Gazza and there haven’t been many finer English players in my lifetime. No one dropped their shoulder like Gazza.

2019 06 29 Retrieve

[Ray Parlour says Madness if Arsenal sell Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Man Utd] It would be madness to let him go, but players have got all the power these days. Aubameyang and [Alexandre] Lacazette have been absolutely brilliant this season. It looks like they’ve got a really good relationship up front, you can see how they celebrate goals. I’d be amazed by that [if he signed for United], I really would. That would shock me. That wouldn’t be good from an Arsenal supporters’ point of view - we all remember when Robin van Persie left to United and they ended up winning the league the following season.

When I go to pre-season, I’m really hoping Aubameyang is on that plane. Goalscorers are so important. Good ones are hard to find and he’s really proven he is a top class goalscorer. You want to be adding to your squad, not trying to get rid of a few players!

2019 06 29b Retrieve

[Ray Parlour says Newcastle could prove to be a stepping stone for Patrick Vieira] I’m surprised by the news. I always tipped him to be the Arsenal manager one day. I’d love to see him back at Arsenal, but this could be the stepping stone, who knows. He was a fantastic player, a really intelligent guy. He knew exactly what he brought to the table every game and he never let you down, he could handle the pressure. Not all great players become great managers, but I could always see him going down that road. To take over from Tony Adams as Arsenal skipper, that was a big loss for us because Tony was a big, big player at centre-half, but Patrick did a wonderful job. He was skipper for about eight years and everyone looked up to him.

2019 07 01 Retrieve

[Former team-mate Ray Parlour is expecting to see Patrick Vieira back at Arsenal at some stage] I always tipped him to be the Arsenal manager one day. I’d love to see him back at Arsenal, but this could be the stepping stone, who knows. He was a fantastic player, a really intelligent guy. He knew exactly what he brought to the table every game and he never let you down, he could handle the pressure. Not all great players become great managers, but I could always see him going down that road. To take over from Tony Adams as Arsenal skipper, that was a big loss for us because Tony was a big, big player at centre-half, but Patrick did a wonderful job. He was skipper for about eight years and everyone looked up to him

2019 07 01b Retrieve

[Wilfried Zaha’s quality is not in doubt, but former Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour is not convinced that he is the answer for Arsenal at £100 million] He’d be a good signing but it depends on how much he is going to go for. Reportedly £100m, which is a lot of money. It’s a lot of money to splash out on one player. You might look at other positions needing strengthening as well. Depending on the budget, we’ll have to wait and see. He’s certainly a very good player, real quality.

2019 07 22 Retrieve

[Former Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour has called on the team’s younger players to seize the opportunity presented to them as the Gunners continue their pre-season] It’s so important for these young players to get an opportunity. The older of the younger generation, Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock, will get that opportunity to get into the first team. Saka, who played on the left-wing has been very good. These guys have to put the effort in this pre-season, improve and try and show the manager that we can rely on you to go forward. I came through the ranks. Everybody needs that opportunity to show that you can be as good as you show in the pre-season

[Parlour admitted that he believes further reinforcements are needed] I was disappointed with the last season, but you have to move on and be optimistic this season. I’m sure they’re working very hard behind the scenes to get transfers done. I don’t know what sort of positions they want to improve. Probably centre-half, full-back has been mentioned, a winger. Hopefully, when it comes to the end of the window, we’ll have a few more players in. This is a very important time for the team, pre-season. [Emery] would have been as disappointed as anybody last season with the run-in, losing a few games and couldn’t come fourth place. Obviously, the Europa League final, losing that game, you can’t look back. You have to look forward. Hopefully, they can progress and get better next season

2019 07 23 Retrieve

[Former Arsenal star Ray Parlour is hoping that Unai Emery’s current Gunners squad will be able to reach the level of Premier League rivals Manchester City and Liverpool] It’s very hard to compare. It really is. It’s different eras. We were very good in our era and obviously Manchester City and Liverpool are very good in this current era. People ask me all the time: ‘Would you beat Man City?’ Who knows? We had a very strong team, a powerful team, but Man City have been a different class. Liverpool showed how good they are. To finish on 97 points, lose one game and not win a title is amazing really. You can’t compare. They’re both excellent teams to watch. I’m just hoping Arsenal can get to that stage again with this current squad

2019 08 21 Retrieve

[Ray Parlour believes Arsenal are nowhere near good enough to challenge Manchester City and Liverpool at the top of the Premier League] I heard a few shows yesterday saying we can challenge for the league, but they’re a million miles away from Man City and Liverpool at the moment, if I’m honest. How many Arsenal players would get into the Liverpool team?

The most important thing is getting back into the Champions League. Maybe they could push a bit higher, but if they get fourth place this season I’d be delighted. But they are so far behind Manchester City and Liverpool at the moment. They’ve started well with a good away win at Newcastle and they got the job done at the weekend against Burnley, but really, they are two games they were expected to win, so I’m not getting carried away

[Arsenal signed several players this summer, including Nicolas Pepe, Kieran Tierney, Dani Ceballos, and David Luiz who could all be considered improvements on to their first team] A lot of fans gave their season tickets back this summer. There were no signings and if you want to get in that top four you need to get players in to give them a chance of competing. At one stage it looked like Arsenal weren’t going to get anybody, it was a bit worrying. In the end it was a decent transfer window for Arsenal and a lot of fans are excited about going into the new season.

2019 10 03 Retrieve

[Ray Parlour says Mesut Ozil could be heading for the exits at Arsenal] We don’t know what happens behind the scenes; we don’t know the atmosphere at training and we don’t know his attitude at training. Maybe Emery is looking at it wanting a reaction and he’s not getting a reaction, so he’s saying, ‘I’m going to go with the youngsters instead’. He’s been brave by doing it because Ozil is a World Cup winner and he’s on a massive contract at Arsenal. But he did probably need someone like Ozil [against United] to open the door for [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang. He didn’t get a lot of service did he? But Ozil, I don’t know what the future holds for him. I think that could be the last straw

2019 10 07 Retrieve

[Ray Parlour says Mesut Ozil has probably reached the end of his career at Arsenal] I have been really impressed by the youngsters coming through, from Arsenal’s point of view. Ozil’s not even in the squad now. I think that’s probably the end of his career at Arsenal. You have got youngsters that deserve an opportunity probably more than him at the moment. Bukayo Saka has come in on the left-hand side, you have got [Gabriel] Martinelli, from Arsenal’s point of view going forward he’s been excellent. Dani Ceballos played at the weekend. They have got lots of options now

Tottenham? They (Arsenal) aren’t miles ahead and it’s still going to be a battle. They could still turn it around. It’s a situation where suddenly you get a really good victory, you get confidence back in the side. You win two or three in a row and you can really shoot up that league

2019 10 24 Retrieve

[Ray Parlour says Emery’s Arsenal are no better than Wenger’s & missing out on top four would be failure] I thought it was always going to be a tricky game. I would have taken a draw. I mean, I had Arsenal to win the game - could have gone third. But, they’re still fifth and they’ve still got lots to play for. As I said before at the start of the season; if they come fourth, it’s a great season. Champions League football is the most important thing for Arsenal now going forward. If they come fifth or sixth this year it has been a failure again. Because they went into the transfer market and I think everyone was quite excited about the signings. So I think it is going to be interesting to see what happens going forward

No, it’s not better (than when Wenger was in charge), but it is a real opportunity. After we started really well during the start of the season, people were going ‘Oh we can challenge for the title’ and I said no chance! I said that on here - no chance whatsoever. If they come fourth in the league, it’s been a very good season. They’re fifth at the moment and still have every chance of coming fourth so it was a poor result the other day. But the other teams are struggling as well around them that might give them an opportunity to get fourth place, which would be a great season for Arsenal.

2019 10 30 Retrieve

[Ray Parlour says Mesut Ozil can provide the creative spark Arsenal have been lacking if he is reintegrated into the first-team squad] I think the fans are little mystified on why he has been left out. I don’t know the real reasons because we don’t see him in training, we don’t see his attitude. For me, when I was left out, I made sure I worked really hard in the next week to try and get back into the side. Whether he has gone there and he’s taken it easy but the fans were singing his name against Crystal Palace. He’s still got lots to offer, he’s a quality player and I think creativity in the midfield area is lacking a bit from Arsenal’s point of view

2019 11 08 Retrieve

[Ray Parlour believes that Emery will be given time to get things right] I think they will stick with Emery for now [until the end of the season] I really do. They are going to give him an opportunity. They’re still in the Europa League they’ll look at that. They got to the final last year. If they don’t make the Champions League then I don’t think his future is at Arsenal. That’s the biggest question mark whether they can or not. The way they are playing at the moment they are nowhere near the top four. But they have to improve, he knows that. Defensively they’ve got to improve. How many times have they gone in front and then suddenly they give an opportunity away? We’ve seen it in so many games

2019 11 14 Retrieve

[Arsenal lesson Emery must take from Wenger revealed by former Gunners star] Emery doesn’t know his best team and he doesn’t know his best formation, but he should know! You’ve got to work on these formations. Do they work on them? [Mesut] Ozil was frozen out and now he’s back in favour, and defensively they’re still not solid enough. All these things are not in the right direction for Arsenal at the moment.

I don’t mind three at the back, but you’ve got to work on it week in, week out in training, so the players know exactly what their jobs are as a team and then we can maybe move up the league. He needs to say the formation we’re going to play and stick to it! You can’t keep changing systems. At the moment it’s 4-2-3-1, then it’s 4-3-3 and then it’s three at the back, nobody really knows!

It’s about finding the right formula and then working with the players so they understand how he wants them to play, and then it’s down to them when they cross the white line. That’s why Arsene Wenger did so well. He trained you, everyone knew their jobs and then he’d leave you alone and say, ‘on match day it’s down to you’

2019 11 29 Retrieve

[Ray Parlour says Arsenal should be looking to take a calculated gamble on Patrick Vieira] have always said Patrick Vieira. I would take a chance with him. Of course it is a gamble, it is a massive gamble but every manager is a gamble. Look, Pep Guardiola started his career, how did Jurgen Klopp get his break? These sort of lucky breaks sometimes - I know for a fact he would be like Frank Lampard [at Chelsea] and the fans would give him a chance

[Assistant manager Freddie Ljungberg has been handed the reins on an interim basis] Freddie Ljungberg I would have to go with at the moment. I am sure behind the scenes they will be really sounding a few people out. I know the Wolves manager has been mentioned, [Mauricio] Pochettino with his payout, I’m not sure how that will work. I am not too sure about Eddie [Howe] at the moment but he has done a wonderful job at Bournemouth. He might not want to go. He might be happy to stay at Bournemouth.

2019 12 12 Retrieve

[Ray Parlour says Arsenal need to move quickly for Carlo Ancelotti] You can’t knock his record. I think they need a bit of experience to shake this squad up and try and get them defending better as a team and get them organised. A few days ago Ancelotti wasn’t available and, this is the mad thing about football, Napoli win 4-0 in the Champions League and suddenly three hours later he’s been sacked!

He’s available and he knows the Premier League very well. Sometimes you’ve got to move quickly with managers. He’s a bit like Mourinho; the trophies he’s won, 20 trophies! Obviously he’s been at big clubs and has had the opportunity to play in big tournaments and have good players, but he’s still got to manage big players and he’s done that so well over the years. That’s why you say he could be the right man for Arsenal

2019 12 20 Retrieve

[Ray Parlour says Mikel Arteta will need to emulate Arsene Wenger by mastering the art of man-management if he takes the reins at Arsenal] I think Arteta, going forward his biggest job and his hardest job is going to be the man-management skills. When you’re number two you’re everyone’s mate. You’re with the players. You don’t have to pick the side. You are in the dressing room as before chatting with the lads, like you’re still a player, but you’re still next to the manager, and feeding back a little bit.

Now you’re manager, you’ve got to make big decisions. You might have to upset certain players and that’s the hardest job, to get the right balance between upsetting players and leaving people out and still keeping them on your side, which is very difficult to do. Arsene Wenger was a master of it. You can only pick 11 people. You’ve got a squad of 25. Everybody wants to play. It’s keeping everybody involved in the club to feel like you’re wanted. That’s his hardest challenge.

He’s been a player himself. He knows how to deal with people. I’ve heard he is very inquisitive, always asking about things at the training ground when he was there. Wenger has said good things about him and appointed him his skipper. I’m sure he’s learned a little bit from Pep Guardiola on how he deals with players on a daily basis, because he’s got some big stars on that team, and it’ll be interesting to see how he does it at Arsenal. Of course it’s a gamble

2019 12 31 Retrieve

[Ray Parlour says Aubameyang’s record is unbelievable, but Arsenal can’t keep unhappy players] It’s very hard to keep players. He’s got to be 100 per cent behind [Mikel] Arteta as a manager and really give his all if he’s going to stay. But if he’s 50-50 about whether he wants to stay or go then he’s got to make a decision. The players have got more power in this era so the best thing from Arsenal’s point of view is if he doesn’t want to stay, you try and get the best money for him. You try and get as much money as you can, he’s 30-years-old now so he’s not getting any younger. Are his best days past him? At the moment he’s the one who could score you a goal though, he’s an instinct player, brilliant player for Arsenal he’s been. The goal record he’s got is unbelievable, but you can’t keep unhappy players. We’ve seen in the past some great players leaving clubs because they don’t want to stay there and it won’t be any different with Aubameyang and Arsenal

2020 01 14 Retrieve

[Ray Parlour says he would be very happy to see Manchester City defender John Stones sign for Arsenal this month] I’d be very, very happy if they brought someone like John Stones to the club. He would definitely play. With Calum Chambers out and Rob Holding in the background, if one of Luiz or Sokratis get injured Arsenal haven’t got a lot of back-up at centre-half.

Would Luiz and Stones work together? Well, they’ve got Sokratis … Stones could play alongside him. He’s the better defender. Luiz has done alright in recent weeks. He’s done better. He does make a mistake, and we’ve seen that this season, but I think he’s done well. I think, if you’re really struggling in midfield, you could play Luiz as a holding midfielder. He can play there because he’s got that range of passing and he’s very good on the ball, he is technically very good. So they could play Stones and Sokratis at the back with Luiz in front of them, that could work

2020 01 21 Retrieve

[Ray Parlour questions Ozil’s goals & assists record since signing bumper new contract] He’s getting better. I’ve definitely seen improvement under Arteta. His work-rate has got better, he’s trying to get on the ball a little bit more … but the figures don’t stack up. He’s got support from the fans, but his stats aren’t great. If you’re a player of that calibre, you’ve got to up your stats. Look at Kevin De Bruyne in the same position - he’s a fantastic player and those are the sort of stats you’ve got to get up to if you’re going to be really effective for your team. At the moment, Ozil can definitely improve them

2020 01 28 Retrieve

[Ray Parlour says Arsenal should be considering taking a calculated gamble on Brighton defender Lewis Dunk if he can be acquired for around £40 million] I’d take a gamble on people like Lewis Dunk. Is it a gamble? £30million/£40million would Brighton take that I don’t know? I like the way he plays, I think he’s a proper centre-back. That’s what you need sometimes. Sol Campbell was a proper centre-back, he was a stopper. He would stop you scoring and that’s what you want from your centre-back, they don’t need to be great on the ball. Someone like Lewis Dunk, who probably is a little bit unlucky not to be more in the England squads

2020 02 18 Retrieve

[Ray Parlour explains why Alexandre Lacazette must play after Eddie Nketiah experiment fails] He [Eddie] struggled first half, holding the ball up, which is what Lacazette does so well. He brings other people into play. Second half he was better and had a couple of opportunities for himself. That’s where managers have to make big decisions, but at least he’s showing he will give the youngsters a go

[Arteta has also said that it’s up to both strikers to prove themselves in training] The message is very clear. Whoever trains like they do and I see they have the abilities, qualities and the hunger to perform like he has done today, he’s got a chance to play. Today I decided to play Eddie because he’s been training in a phenomenal way. I decided for him not to go on loan and to stay and I have to support that decision. Laca has been playing all the games with me, he hasn’t scored and I told him the decision today - why - and he accepted it really well. I said ‘you will come out and score a goal, he did and I am so pleased, not just for the goal but for the reaction of all his teammates and the staff because they showed how much they love him. And the reason why is because this guy works his balls off everyday

2020 02 18b Retrieve

[Parlour says Arsenal have to get Saka tied to new contract but feel-good factor is back] He [Nketiah] struggled a bit first half - holding the ball up, and that’s what Lacazette does so well. He holds the ball up and brings other players into play, while Eddie was a little bit of a struggle first half. Second half, he did much better, he had a couple of opportunities. That is where managers have to make big decisions. At least he is showing that he will give the youngsters a go.

Saka was excellent again on the left-hand side, he had another really good game. I think he has to get tied down now on a new contract. I think they are trying to organise it at the moment. At the moment Arsenal are 10th in the table, which isn’t good enough, but Lacazette’s goal and how the players celebrated, they knew he needed that. There are a lot of changes that need to be made at Arsenal but there is a feel-good factor again. I think the supporters are getting behind the team and suddenly they are thinking: next season, could we really have a go? I think fifth place is still wide open for quite a few clubs, so big game Sunday against Everton.

2020 02 21 Retrieve

[Former Gunners winger Ray Parlour is eager to see an extension put in place] I think Bukayo Saka has to get tied down now on a new contract. I think they are trying to organise it at the moment

2020 02 25 Retrieve

[Ray Parlour says Aubameyang needs more longevity to be classed as a Premier League great] I think you’ve got to look a bit more at longevity. [Sergio] Aguero, [Thierry] Henry, Alan Shearer, Robbie Fowler, all these sorts of guys did it year-in, year-out. You can’t argue with his [Aubameyang’s] record, and if he hadn’t scored the goals he’s scored this season Arsenal could be very much more in a relegation battle than trying to get in that top five.

He’s been such an important player for Arsenal going forward with the goals he scores; he’s very clinical once he’s in position. He looked very similar to Henry at the weekend. Once he’s through one-on-one that’s all he needs. Henry used to play just off the left-hand side as well, and the way he [Aubameyang] just opened his body out and bent the ball into the far corner was very similar to Henry. But whether you can call him a Premier League great yet, I’m not sure about that

2020 03 03 Retrieve

[Ray Parlour says Reiss Nelson is the future for Arsenal] Two assists again. His record has been excellent. You can see his pace, especially on the second goal - the way he went past that left-back once he dropped his shoulder and pushed it on he was gone. You can’t catch someone like that. He is certainly the future for Arsenal on that side

If I was to have one critique of him, it is that he needs to believe in himself a bit more, because he is such a good player. He’s got to demand the ball a lot more and run at players a lot more, because he’s got all the tricks to get past players and put balls into the box. He just needs to be on it on a more regular basis. You get players who come into the side and sometimes the game can go by them. You’ve got to want the ball a little bit more and get into areas where you can’t get picked up. That is what he’s got to learn as he gets into the team a little bit more. He needs to be easy to find if you are on his team, but hard to mark if you are against him

2020 03 27 Retrieve

[Ray Parlour on how Dennis Bergkamp winding up Martin Keown led to Arsenal signing flop Igors Stepanovs] Arsene was so clever at identifying great players to come in, but there were one or two gambles that didn’t quite come off.

In the summer of 2000 a player turned up on trial at our pre-season tour. He was a tall centre-half. Now, Martin Keown was always worried about people coming in to steal his position. If we had a centre-half on trial, Martin would say he was useless. This big guy from Latvia, Igors Stepanovs, turned up. He was a unit, but seriously, he was not up to standard.

[He actually had one of the Premier League’s best-ever win ratios. Anyway, on with the story!] A few of us were on the bench watching as he played in this trial game. Stepanovs is out there and every single pass he made, the boys started applauding, just because we knew Martin would be getting a bit steamed up by it. Dennis Bergkamp was sitting behind Arsene and kept doling out these compliments about this defender - ‘Great header! Unbelievable tackle!’. Igors kicked this one ball 20 yards away from where it was meant to go but it still went to one of our players so we all stood up clapping.

Martin’s muttering: ‘He’s not that good.’ He started to point out where he missed a tackle or a header.

That night we went for dinner and laughed about it as we were only trying to wind Martin up. We all knew Igors was nowhere near the standards set by Tony Adams, Martin and Bouldy.

But Martin is such an easy target because he bites. Once someone bites it’s too tempting. Dennis seldom missed a trick because Martin would kick him every day in training. He always came out with a blinder to explain it to Dennis: ‘I’m just getting you ready for what you are going to face in the match.’

Martin was a great player, a great character, a great winner. I think we all cared so deeply. When we got back to the training ground at London Colney a week later we had a surprise though. Igors was sitting there.

I said: ‘What are you doing here?’ ‘They signed me,’ he said. ‘Four-year contract.’

Arsene didn’t know we were just trying to tease Martin. He just kept listening to us heaping praise on this player. And if Dennis Bergkamp stands up and says: ‘What a player’, Arsene would be entitled to take a bit of notice. I suppose it looked like a bargain at around £1m.

No disrespect to anyone from the lower leagues but Igors was a yard behind us on the pitch, it was like taking my brother to training.

The next thing we know we’ve got the biggest injury crisis we’ve ever had at centre-half. And the only fit centre-half we’ve got is Igors and who are we playing at the weekend? Man United at Old Trafford.

Going into the game our back four looked a bit dicey really. Oleg Luzhny, Gilles Grimandi, Igors and Ashley Cole, who had to go off at half-time.

Dwight Yorke ran us ragged. Seriously, it was humiliating. They scored the first goal and we managed to equalise. We thought: ‘OK, we’ll take that’. And then all of a sudden the goals started pouring in and we were 5-1 down by half-time

There is a massive walk to the tunnel at Old Trafford and you could see Arsene was fuming. He hardly every swore or shouted but he did that day. I remember doing the long walk to the tunnel alongside Dwight Yorke and he asked: ‘Where the hell did you get that centre-half from?’ ‘Look,’ I said. ‘It’s a long story … ‘. We sat down in the dressing room and it could’ve been 9-1 as David Seaman actually had a blinder in goal.

Arsene started letting off and he’s not a swearer, it just doesn’t suit him, and I’m really desperate to laugh. I’m making no eye contact and I could see Pat Rice in my peripheral vision sending me a look that said: ‘Don’t laugh. Whatever you do. Do. Not. Laugh

Arsene was going mad. And that was the only time, in the eight years I played under him, he went crazy at half-time. He was always focused on being calm, recovering and keeping concentrated on what we needed to do. We lost 6-1 and poor Igors barely played again

2020 05 08 Retrieve

[Former Arsenal stars Ray Parlour agree that Arsene Wenger should be given a statue outside the Emirates Stadium] That’s why he deserves a statue. He’s the one who created the Emirates, if you like. He’s the one who had that focus to say Highbury, as much as we all loved it, was not big enough.

Could he have done that? Wenger loved the day-to-day; the training; the matches

2020 06 05 Retrieve

[Ray Parlour says Arsenal won’t sell Tierney, he’s an exciting talent] Well, he would be playing Champions League football next season if he did move to Leicester, but I’d be amazed if Arsenal let him go. What I’ve seen of him when he’s played, he looks a very exciting player. His age as well will come into it; he’s only a young lad. I would definitely keep him, and once he’s fit give him a run in the team and have a look at him properly.

The night at West Ham away was a hard night for me. I knew I had dislocated my shoulder in the first 10, 15 minutes and straight away you know what you’ve done. Then another 10 minutes, I did the same kind of thing. I landed differently. It was a set piece and my arm just went into a position that wasn’t comfortable at all and dislocated. It was heartbreaking because in my head I knew I needed an operation. Three times in 30 minutes, nobody’s shoulder should be going like that. So in my head, I was like ‘that’s me out for another few months’. You know that and you know the devastation straight away. You can see it on my face. Being injured at the start of my Arsenal career was hard. Mentally, it was probably the toughest time of my life

2020 06 05b Retrieve

[Ray Parlour says Arsenal will have no choice but to sell Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang if he refuses to sign a new contract] I think you’ve got to sell him if he doesn’t sign a contract, and then take the money and try to replace him. It’s really difficult to keep a player if he doesn’t want to stay. It’s a big decision to make, but I don’t know what sort of money you could get for him if he doesn’t want to stay. If you get a good fee for him then you have to try and go out and replace him. That is difficult, but it has happened at every single club when players come to the last year of their contract. I’m praying that he wants to stay and Arsenal can sign him on a new contract and he can be there for the next two or three years under [Mikel] Arteta. It all depends on the manager as well, if they get on, and also if he feels the club is going forward. That is the big decision the club have got to make, but hopefully he stays.

2020 06 08 Retrieve

[Ray Parlour says Arsenal have to spend big on a new No.10] The goals are not really spread around the team are they with Arsenal? You get Lacazette who can chip in with a few, Ozil probably doesn’t score enough for the position he plays. The midfield are very much more defensive minded, [Granit] Xhaka is not going to score you goals, [Lucas] Torreira’s not going to score you goals, they’ve lost [Aaron] Ramsey, who was the goalscorer from midfield. So, I look at an attacking midfielder who’s probably going to score you 10 goals a season, but you’re talking big money then, so spend.

I think they’ve got to try and keep most of their top talent, I’m talking about Aubameyang and people like that, if they’re going to have any chance of trying to get into the Champions League. I think a lot of it will be down to the last nine games of this season, I think they’ve still got a glimmer of hope that you never know which teams that are above them are going to come back and hit the ground running. If they [Arsenal] can come back and hit the ground running and get a good start to the season, obviously the Man City game is going to be very important, if they can get anything out of that game that will give them a lot of confidence going forward. Champions League football is so important for a lot of players these days so Aubameyang, if they can squeeze in there, might sign a new contract, I don’t know. If they don’t, then he might be on his way and suddenly you’ve got to replace a striker who scores all your goals

2020 06 21 Retrieve

[Ray Parlour says Arsenal always give teams a chance to beat them] Oh, absolutely shot

This was a game they had to win. Not a lot of people would’ve given them a chance against Manchester City in a normal league period, but going to Brighton, if you’re going to compete with teams at the top, everybody’s dream at Arsenal is to get back into the Champions League, but these are the sides you’ve got to beat

They got themselves in a good position by getting the opening goal but they always give teams a chance. That’s the problem with Arsenal at the moment

Fair play to Brighton, they took that chance and they scored two fantastic goals, especially the last one, it was a fantastic winner for Brighton, but the fans will be very much on their backs a little bit now because they demand more of the players, they demand wins, they demand getting closer to that top five

At the moment Arsenal are going backwards

2020 06 27 Retrieve

[Ray Parlour believes it’s time for Arsenal to take some risks in the transfer market in an attempt to get themselves back into contention for the Champions League] Maybe they have to take a few more risks which probably they don’t want to do but sometimes in football you’ve got to take a risk. Because if you can get the right players in, suddenly you can turn things around and turn the club around because you can compete again with the best. And that’s when you can attract big players in the Champions League

You’ve got to be clever, you’ve got to wheel and deal sometimes because Arsenal are not a club who are going to be competing with the likes of Manchester City [in the transfer market]. Not having Champions League football is a real burden on the financial situation, that’s why it’s so important to try and get back in it as quick as possible. They had a massive chance last year in the Europa League final, if they had won that. Now they have to find a way somehow, I don’t know what route they take to get back there, but we’ve seen what it’s done for Spurs and that’s what Arsenal have got to try and get back to. But it’s not as easy as you think, it’s not simple because you are competing against good teams, even teams like Wolves now who have improved so much. And what happens with Newcastle if the takeover goes through? They are going to come in and say we are going to have a go at the top four. So it really is difficult to get into the Champions League now.

[Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey is a target, but his £44 million ($54m) release clause could prove prohibitive, unless Arsenal raise some significant funds with some sales once the window open - something Parlour believes could happen] There are also some players who you would probably think they could do without. There are quite a few players whose contracts are running down. I don’t know what they will do with Lacazette. Nketiah is getting a chance now and he’s still a young lad. He’s still got to improve and get better, but Arteta might be saying ‘l like what I’m seeing in training from him and I know he will improve. So it will be interesting to see what he does with certain players. Whether Aubameyang stays I don’t know and obviously it’s important to sign Saka up to a long-term contract. He’s been excellent

It’s down to the club now recruitment wise. Arsenal have to get that right. They’ve brought Edu in, someone who has played in very good dressing rooms, he was part of the Invincibles and he knows what sort of characters you need if you are going to be successful as a team. That’s what his hardest job is now, finding those players who have got good characters that rub off on other players. That’s the hard bit, trying to find them.

2020 06 29 Retrieve

[Ray Parlour says Arsenal should consider using David Luiz in a midfield holding role] He makes too many mistakes, and at 33 he is not going to learn. You have to look a little bit higher than David Luiz. He could be a squad player and you could play him as a holding midfielder. He has got a range of passing and you know if you make a mistake there you have centre-halves behind you, that could be a role for him

2020 06 29b Retrieve

[Parlour believes greater ambition needs to be shown in a bid to break into the top four] Arsenal need to get back into the Champions League by spending more money and taking more of a gamble as a club. Arteta has done everything right so far, but now it is up to the club to back him. The lower you get and the more ambition the other teams get then it is going to be difficult for Arsenal to challenge again

2020 06 30 Retrieve

[Ray Parlour says Matteo Guendouzi must ‘toe the line’ to avoid throwing away his Arsenal career] He’s got to toe the line. He’s a very energetic player, a very good player. I think it’s a situation where Arteta now is stamping his authority, which is something you have to do as a manager. You have to get the respect of the players. Matteo has maybe stepped out of line and he’s left him out. I’ve always said do your talking on the pitch. As long as you are performing, you get away with certain incidents

I do like the way he plays, he’s got good energy, but it comes down to Arteta. I don’t see him every day in training, I don’t see if he’s a bit of a sulker, I just don’t know. Arteta now has got to get that out of him, see what makes him tick. He’s a young lad, he’s still learning and that’s what Arteta’s trying to get across to him

I still think he’s certainly part of his plans for now. He’s just trying to put people in line and show he’s the boss. He will get a lot of respect from the players if you say how it is to them individually. I know for a fact that Arteta is very good going round everyone and having a chat with them, trying to see their feelings and their characters. Maybe Matteo wasn’t right and that’s why he’s dropped him

2020 06 30b Retrieve

[No one is bigger than the club] Mikel will sit down with him and say, ‘we desperately want to keep you at the club’. But as a player, if he doesn’t want to stay and says he wants Champions League football, you’ve then got to make a big decision. No-one is bigger than the club, I know he is a very important player and I would love to see him stay, but the players have got the power now. They can put clubs in corners where they have to make big decisions about whether to keep them and let their contract run out like they did with Aaron Ramsey, or they say ‘how much can we get for him’ and then try and replace him

From Arsenal’s point of view, financially it would be better if you keep him because you know he’s a proven goalscorer. You know he’s settled, that he plays well most weeks and that you have to replace him if you sell. I don’t know how much he would be worth now in the market. You see Werner go for £55m, but people forget he’s got his wages on top of that. If he’s on £200,000 a week, that’s another £10m a year so you have to weigh the whole situation up

And you never know whether who you buy in to replace him is going to hit the ground running and if they can handle the Premier League. So in an ideal world, he signs a new three or four-year contract. But Aubameyang might be thinking I’ve got three or four years left at the top level, I want to play Champions League football now and Arsenal can’t guarantee him that at the moment. And players usually get their own way in this era I’m afraid. If a player wants to go, he usually leaves. But I’m hoping they come to an agreement and he stays