Former Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann says the Gunners must win the Premier League under Unai Emery for the club’s coaching change to be considered a success — but that it’s Tottenham who remind him of the “old” Arsenal he used to play for.
Emery was brought in to replace Arsene Wenger after his 22-year reign ended with a sixth-place finish in the league last season. Lehmann was part of Wenger’s coaching staff last year but was let go as part of the backroom changes.
“This won’t happen in Premier League,” Lehmann told Bild when asked if asking if defending champions Manchester City are about to build a Bayern Munich-style dynasty in England. “The quality gap is not as big as in the Bundesliga.
“I see a lot of potential at Chelsea, who have a new manager in Maurizio Sarri. Usually, Chelsea have a successful first year under a new sporting leadership. I expect them back in the title. Liverpool, just like Tottenham, must win something someday. And my ex-club Arsenal also have a new manager and must win the trophy with Unai Emery.
“If it’s not their goal to win the league, why all the changes in the club? The Arsenal squad is not worse than those of the other teams.”
Lehmann also gave a surprising compliment to Spurs by comparing them to the youthful Arsenal sides that he was a part of between 2003 and 2008.
“Having played for Arsenal, you don’t really like the local rival Tottenham that much,” Lehmann said. “Regardless, I must admit: They remind me a bit of the ‘old’ Arsenal I played in. Many young and interesting players. But Spurs and [Harry] Kane must make use of the current momentum they have before it collapses one day. It appears they right now don’t know how to win trophies. But it’s must if you want to be a big side.”
Lehmann also said Arsenal’s new goalkeeper Bernd Leno still has a lot to prove as he tries to topple Petr Cech as the Gunners’ No. 1.
“Bernd is a good keeper, no doubt about that,” he said. “The question is: Can he show more than he did in the past? He must take more risks and continue his development. He does that – good. He fails to do so? Arsenal will look at a new keeper in one or two seasons.”
The former Germany international also questioned Liverpool’s decision to spend £65 million on Alisson, saying the Brazil goalkeeper hasn’t proven that he’s among the world’s best.
“Alisson is certainly a good man, but not a world-class keeper you’d expect for this price. He has not given any proof of it,” Lehmann said. “I see many keepers playing at his level. He’s 25 now and made 100 professional appearances so far, 50 of them coming for Roma last season.
“I am always interested to see whether those players can actually become world class. You must ask yourself why they only played 50 matches in six years as a pro.”