Emmanuel Petit has urged Arsenal to "aim higher" than reported targets Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Malcom as they prepare for life without Alexis Sanchez, whose move to Manchester United is close to being confirmed.

The Gunners, who should welcome Henrikh Mkhitaryan to north London as part of the switch that will see Sanchez arrive at Old Trafford, have reportedly agreed a three-and-a-half year deal worth €10m-a-year (£8.8m, $12.3m) with Aubameyang and are apparently close to signing Bordeaux's Malcom for around €45m, though the young Brazilian's future is still uncertain amid apparent interest from Liverpool.

The trio's prospective arrival in exchange for Sanchez and Theo Walcott, who joined Everton for £20m earlier this week, is seen as good business by many.

However, Petit has urged Wenger, who he believes is still very much involved in his former side's transfer dealings, to recruit players who are a level above the likes of Malcom and Aubameyang, who was not included in Borussia Dortmund's side to face Hertha Berlin on Friday night [19 January] due to concerns over his focus.

"Arsenal are struggling to bring in top-quality players, and also to keep the ones they have. It has been like this for a long time," Petit told Paddy Power. "They must be more competitive on the market, both when buying and selling.

"Times have changed since I left Arsenal, but I'm pretty sure Arsene is still heavily involved when it comes from to the transfer market.

"But I wonder about the quality of players they have been signing. There has been a lot of speculation about the likes of Aubameyang and Malcom – but with the money Arsenal have, they should be aiming higher.

"Because they are not competitive on the pitch at the moment, they need to be more competitive with wages: if you can't guarantee trophies or at least compete to win them, then you must offer players more in order to come to the club. That's just the way it works."

Despite Petit's assertions, Aubameyang looks set to join Arsenal in the coming weeks. A fee has not yet been agreed between the Gunners and BVB, who hit out at Wenger on Thursday (18 January), insisting that no offer has been made.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Aubameyang is expected to move to north London and reunite with former teammate Mkhitaryan Getty Images