Gilberto Silva admits Arsenal’s efforts to replace him in the middle of the park have been “painful” at times, with the Gunners still seeking suitable successors to ‘Invincibles’ heroes.
Back in 2003-04, Arsene Wenger oversaw an unbeaten Premier League season in north London.
The likes of Thierry Henry and Robert Pires provided attacking inspiration in a star-studded side, but it was Gilberto and Patrick Vieira that added graft to go with the guile.
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Arsenal moved away from that approach during the latter years of Wenger’s reign, with Emirates Stadium stocked with creative ball players.
The likes of Granit Xhaka and Matteo Guendouzi have been acquired in a bid to find more bite, but Gilberto still sets the standard some 16 years after the Gunners’ last title triumph.
“It’s nice when people talk about me and remember me,” the Brazilian told Planet Football.
“Of course, I’m not too proud in terms of the idea that they never replaced me, but I feel proud that people think about me positively, despite the fact that it’s a long time since I left the club. This is a good feeling.
“But, you know, from what I have seen over the last few years, it’s quite true, because me and Patrick Vieira especially had a great partnership and I haven’t seen Arsenal replace this.
“I think it’s been quite painful for the team not to have stability in this position. They are paying a high price, but I hope at some point they find somebody who can fill the gap.”
Arsenal are now working under the guidance of Mikel Arteta.
The Spaniard once captained the club while Wenger was still calling the shots, with Gilberto hoping that some of the Frenchman’s philosophies will be returned to the Emirates under his former charge.
The 2002 World Cup winner said of his ex-boss: “It was great to play under him. He was very simple in the way he would tell us what to do but in a very effective way.
“He always went back to the basics to provide us with the best training sessions.
“He encouraged everyone to work hard and to believe in themselves and their abilities but without forgetting what they have to do as a group.
“I think his ability to get everyone on the same page was massively important to keeping that level of competitiveness to achieve the best results possible.”
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