The World Cup-winning midfielder, a cornerstone of Wenger’s ‘Invincible’ league champions of 2003-04, believes that a new breed of Premier League managers, including Chelsea’s Antonio Conte, Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola and Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp – have the energy the 67-year-old lacks after over two decades at the Arsenal helm.
“I feel that the time has come,” the 2004 Premier League champion told Sport 360.
“The more the past is coming to a close, the more his time is coming - not because he can't do the job any longer, but, perhaps because the other clubs have changed their way of working, the way of doings things.
“He hasn't changed much, he hasn't changed his way of working - not because he doesn't want to, but it is not so easy to compete with clubs who spend a lot of money every season.
“Wenger has spent a lot more years than them (Conte, Guardiola and Klopp) in the Premier League. They are younger and motivated and they have a lot of energy to look around and source ways to win against Wenger.
“He has his own way of working, in which he believes. Irrespective of whether you are either a young or an old coach, you have to believe in something, and that's what he does.”
Gilberto is not the only manager to have criticised Wenger, whose contract expires at the end of the season, in recent weeks. After last month’s 5-1 defeat former Arsenal defenders Martin Keown and Lee Dixon said they believed the Frenchman’s time at the club was up.
Wenger has made clear that he intends to remain in management next season, saying he would prefer to stay at Arsenal but remains “lucid” enough to know whether he should sign the two-year extension that has been offered to him.