The ex-Gunners boss says the north London club should change their policies on transfer fees and wages and look to re-model their side on the 'Invincibles' of 2003-04
Rioch was sacked by Arsenal to be replaced by Wenger and the former boss says the club should look to replicate the side they had in 2003-04 when they went the whole of the Premier League campaign unbeaten to clinch their 13th and most recent title.
“I’ve got a lot of affection for Arsenal, there’s no room in my life for bitterness. It is a great club by any yardstick,” Rioch said in an article in The Mirror.
“Yes, [Manchester] United scored some great goals [in beating the Gunners 8-2] but losing two outstanding players like Fabregas and Nasri is really going to dent any team’s confidence - unless you’ve got like-for-like quality as immediate replacements.
“Their moves turned into long-running sagas when something should have been sorted out quickly.
“This time last year Alex Ferguson had a contract problem with Wayne Rooney. He got it done and dusted in a week, even though it cost them financially.
“United sent out a message to the rest of the world - we are not a club which sells our best players.
“It’s not always been like that for United. But when Cristiano Ronaldo wanted to go a few years ago, United made sure it cost Real Madrid top dollar, around £80 million.
“Then you look at the early signings Alex made this summer. Top English talent like Phil Jones and Ashley Young came in and must have given that dressing room a hell of a lift.
“Bill Shankly once told me that when a player got towards the end of his contract at Liverpool, he would be offered a new deal. Any hesitation and he was history. Shanks took it as an indication his head was elsewhere.
“I feel Arsenal should have done that with Nasri.”
Rioch admires the job Frenchman Wenger has done at the club, but feels he needs to try and replicate the 'Invincibles' side of 2003-04.
“Arsene has done a brilliant job for the club.
“If he left, virtually all of Europe’s top clubs would be interested.
“But maybe he should look again at his most successful side. It had all the qualities that winning teams need.
“In players like Jens Lehmann in goal, Patrick Vieira and Sol Campbell - among others - Arsenal were tough, difficult to beat, tall, physical with character. Going forward and scoring goals, all the skill and talent was there too with Robert Pires, Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp.
“That team could never be intimidated. I feel Arsene is under a lot of pressure because in the last six years he has fallen short of the exceptionally high standards he set.
“I don’t know him well but we have met. He’s very pleasant, a nice person who has helped many players further their careers.
“Now he simply has to win games of football. It’s lovely when you can win with a bit of style, but the Premier League is extremely competitive and Arsenal need to be competitive.
“They have been going into certain situations, going to certain grounds where you don’t fancy them. That never used to be the case.”