Ian Wright struggled to make a case for under-fire boss Arsene Wenger to continue at Arsenal next season as the former striker said the Gunners should target a manager like Tottenham's Mauricio Pochettino.
Arsenal crashed to a 3-0 defeat to Manchester City in Sunday's EFL Cup final to increase the pressure on Wenger amid the club's woes.
The Londoners have endured another difficult season under Wenger, whose side are sixth and a staggering 27 points adrift of Premier League champions-elect City, while they avoided an embarrassing Europa League exit despite a shock 2-1 loss at home to Ostersunds.
Wenger, who signed a new two-year deal last May, has been in charge since 1996 but Wright believes time is fast running out for the long-serving 68-year-old Frenchman at the Emirates Stadium.
"There are excuses [from Wenger] and he is mollycoddling a team," Wright told BBC Radio 5 live. "Whether he stays at the end of this season, I could not make a case.
"I am not sure anyone can. This development of mediocrity has to be arrested."
Wright said: "I want Arsenal to challenge again, for them to sign players who will get you excited. I want someone in the boardroom who will lay it down. A few of the players are on easy street, own properties and are renting them out.
"How long would it take Arsenal to get back? It will take them a few years. Everyone is progressing and moving forward in that top five. Arsenal are going the other way. They need to stop it, get a successful manager then get players to go forward. It is a long road."
Former Bayern Munich boss Carlo Ancelotti and Napoli's Maurizio Sarri have been linked with the Arsenal job, while Monaco head coach Leonardo Jardim and Germany tactician Joachim Low are also candidates, but Wright suggested the team's next manager should be in the category of Pochettino.
"The club need to start looking for somebody who is not old," he continued. "They are talking about Ancelotti, but they need to find the next one like Mauricio Pochettino, who built his way up.
"[Former Watford boss] Marco Silva stepped on his own ambition. Somebody like that is good and can build, have a philosophy and be enthused with drive; someone who can bring in a player that can see his philosophy through, like we are seeing at Manchester City."