Arsene Wenger should step down as Arsenal manager if the club fail to qualify for the Champions League next season, former Gunners defender Martin Keown has said.

The Gunners' Champions League aspirations took a further dent after they were held to a goalless draw by West Ham on Wednesday, 13 December, with the result ensuring that the north London side dropped down to seventh in the Premier League.

The stalemate extended Arsenal's winless run in the league to three matches, with Keown saying that, on current form, the Gunners appear unlikely to make the top four.

Wenger signed a two-year contract extension at Arsenal in the summer to extend his stay at the Emirates Stadium until 2019.

"Arsenal just haven't got that cutting edge and are losing ground on their rivals. They are slipping deeper and deeper and deeper into that table," Keown was reported as saying by the Daily Mail.

"The Champions League is looking like it's not going to happen for Arsene Wenger and the questions will come again for the manager – is he going to be there next season or not?

"If it doesn't get much better for him [in the second half], then at the end of the season, he has to hold his hands up and say maybe I'm not the man to take this club forward."

Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger has been Arsenal's manager for more than 21 years Getty Images

Meanwhile, former Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand said Arsenal had made no progress over the last few seasons under Wenger and had actually gone backwards.

"I see players going backwards. I don't see players improving dramatically under this regime and that is the worrying part for me," he said.

"When you look at this Arsenal team and the history of Arsenal, even Arsene Wenger's early tenure at the club, it was about trophies, it was about winning and competing for titles, for leagues. They are not doing that now. They are fighting for one or two positions in the Champions League."

Arsenal's next league assignment sees them hosting Newcastle at the Emirates on Saturday, 16 December.