Arsenal icon Ray Parlour has claimed that just one of the current crop of Gunners stars would be able to force their way into the legendary Invincibles squad of 2003/04.
That campaign is of course best remembered for Arsenal’s astonishing achievement that saw them go the entire Premier League season unbeaten on their way to the title. Each player in that side has sealed their place in Gunners history and no squad since has managed to win another league title, let alone in such remarkable fashion.
Therefore, it is perhaps a bold claim to suggest anyone in that Invincibles side would make way for a member of the current outfit, given they are yet to win anything together. However, Parlour feels there is one player that stands out from the rest.
Speaking to JBI Training, Parlour explained that it is not exactly an easy call, potentially dropping one of the Invincibles.
He said: “There were so many good performances from a lot of Arsenal players last season. You could argue that [Bukayo] Saka could get into the team on the righthand side. On the left, [Robert] Pires was different class that year. You can’t replace [Thierry] Henry or [Dennis] Bergkamp with anyone from the current squad if I’m being honest.
“Patrick Vieira and Gilberto were brilliant that season. I called Gilberto the Invisible Wall. He was always in the right place.
“Then you look at the back four. Gabriel had a really good season for Arsenal this year, so maybe he could have got in there, but Kolo Toure and Sol Campbell were brilliant for us that year. Lauren was terrific at right back and Ashley Cole was phenomenal at left-back.
“I can’t really swap any of the Invincibles for anyone in the current squad apart from Saka, and that’s probably being a bit harsh on Freddie Ljungberg, who scored some vital goals for us.”
While Ljungberg was an exceptional talent for the Gunners, with each game Saka plays for Arsenal the argument that he is the club’s greatest academy export grows stronger.
The 21-year-old enjoyed his best season yet last term, bagging 14 goals alongside 11 assists in the Premier League alone. For context, that means Saka has already managed to better Ljungberg’s best-scoring season for the Gunners.
Coincidentally, Saka and Ljungberg actually enjoy a stellar working relationship forged during the days when the latter was an academy coach at Arsenal while the former was working his way up the ranks.
Ljungberg has never shied away from talking up Saka’s talent and previously insisted the England international is capable of even more than what we have witnessed so far.