Arsenal legend and former captain Tony Adams has hit out at the way Arsenal have conducted their transfer business in recent years, labelling them a selling club.
The Englishman speaks bluntly about how the club is slowly losing its credibility and also Arsenal’s focus on attack in comparison to defence.
In the clubs seven year drought, we have seen the likes of Robin van Persie, Samir Nasri, Emmanuel Adebayor and Gael Clichy leave in their prime for more chance at silverware and, although they deny it as a motive, a humongous pay rise.
Adams is quoted as saying in the Daily Mirror:
It sends out all the wrong messages for me, being a selling club.
Piece by piece for seven years, it chips away at your credibility. Selling your best players is part of that.
I very much see Arsenal as the biggest club in the world, so I can’t understand why anybody would want to play anywhere else – but I can understand it was very different for me.
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I had people in the boardroom who were very ambitious and wanted to win like me – that’s easy then, your contract goes in front of you and you sign it because you are all pulling in the same direction.
Robin wants to win and he thinks that he can win things with Manchester United and he can’t with Arsenal. That is hard to take.
I am looking at it not as an ex-player or pundit, but as a fan and giving what the fans are thinking and feeling.
The problem for me in the last seven years is the defensive vulnerabilities as a team – the goalkeeper, the back four, even the central midfield players, the mentality of the team.
I don’t think they are a team that are set up to do what Chelsea did last year in the Champions League and I don’t think Arsene wants to.
I don’t want to put these current players down because they are fantastic, but we used to train constantly with [manager] George [Graham]
We worked at it. We went out there and did it every minute, morning and afternoon. It used to drive us insane but on a Saturday you would know it inside out.
Year in, year out the team with the best defence wins the league and we saw the team with the best defence win the Champions League, so it makes you wonder why a lot of teams aren’t focusing more on defending.
It’s a European thing. I have said it to Arsene – ‘your full-backs are playing like wingers’. Teams were exploiting it at the Emirates and it was a massive flaw.
Arsene would say, ‘I know’. I think he recognises that’s a problem. Whether he does anything about it…”
I expect them to score goals, but they cannot win the Champions League with their current mentality.
I hope they prove me wrong, but against the better teams I think they will fall short again.
I am not alone here – I think most of the Arsenal fans would agree with me.
Strange things happen, like Chelsea winning with not the greatest team in the world, but they did have the whole team fighting to keep clean sheets.
To actually think you are going to play Barcelona or Real Madrid off the pitch…I don’t think this team are good enough to do that.
While in essence, it is true Arsenal have become a selling club of sorts, there is no doubt it has been more or less forced upon them by the ridiculous inflations in transfer fees and player wages. This kind of approach is suicide for any kind of club trying to sustain itself with a sensible business model.
Although there is definitely some validity to what the Arsenal legend is saying, it is very disappointing that he has said it at a time where Arsenal have looked great defensively and are on the up and trying to build their confidence.
Personally, I feel the squad is much better than it has been in recent seasons. Although we have lost great individuals, I get the sense this is a much better team, particularly with Bould to guide defence.
What do you guys think? Do his frustrations go too far? Or do you think they are on the mark? Feel free to leave a comment below or discuss this in the allArsenal.com forums.