Arsenal need Arsene Wenger to sign a new contract in a move that would be more important than renewing Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil's deals, according to Robert Pires.
Wenger is out of contract at the end of the season and is coming under intense pressure to leave from some sections of the Gunners' support.
The 67-year-old says he has made a decision on his future, but is yet to announce that verdict publicly.
And Pires, who was part of Arsenal's Invincibles team in 2004, thinks Wenger staying would be the best possible scenario for his former club.
"I hope even they [Ozil and Sanchez] extend the contracts - the negotiation is very difficult and maybe complicated, but most important is to see Arsene Wenger extend," Pires said to Sky Sports.
"I think Arsenal need more stability. Wenger is very, very important for Arsenal for now and for the next season.
"I believe in Wenger because for me it was a privilege to work with him over six seasons.
"The team was not perfect but it was good because we won some titles. I am a privileged man because I am still training with the team. I can give some advice for the players, can talk with Wenger every morning. Now I think he needs to put some stability on the club.
"Lots of fans talk about Wenger but I think he is the man. He is the manager for Arsenal. Wenger and the players need to fight."
Pires thinks the quality is good enough in Arsenal's squad to compete for major honours, but agrees they are lacking in leadership.
He also pointed to the long-term injury for Santi Cazorla as one of the reasons for the Gunners' struggles in the second half of the season.
"It is very strange - sometimes you play good, sometimes it is not good," Pires said of Arsenal's form.
"Some players need more spirit because the quality is there. When you see the names on paper on the pitch I think they are great players like Ozil, Sanchez, but for me the most important is that we have missed Cazorla.
"I think he is one of the best players at Arsenal, I think it has been over four months out and this is a problem.
"The quality is there in the squad but we need - when you play in the Premier League especially - spirit, fight, commitment.
"[My team winning titles] was a long time ago for Arsenal unfortunately. I remember I played with Tony Adams, Lee Dixon, Martin Keown, so this is a good example. Maybe we need the same or similar players for Arsenal. But for now the most important is to finish in the top four."