Soccer

Tony Adams slams Arsenal player who Arsene Wenger would never have signed

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Arsenal legend Tony Adams believes Arsene Wenger would not have even considered signing Willian if he was still in charge. Willian joined Arsenal on a free transfer following his release from Chelsea in the summer. The Brazilian was handed a three-year contract at the Emirates after Chelsea refused to sanction that length of a deal to a player who turned 32 in August.

Willian is yet to score in an Arsenal shirt and has contributed just one Premier League assist since his debut on the opening day of the season against Fulham.

The winger received strong criticism for his role in Everton’s opening goal in Saturday’s 2-1 loss at Goodison Park.

And Adams does not believe his former boss Wenger would have even contemplated signing Willian at his age.

“That’s lazy recruitment for me,” Adams told Stadium Astro.

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“I think you’ve got to really question the recruitment process at Arsenal at the moment.

“We’ve had some wonderful, wonderful players and wonderful principles under Arsene Wenger, he went for a young player, he wouldn’t have even considered Willian if Arsene was still in control of the club.

“He wouldn’t have even considered him. For him, a forward over the age of 30, physiologically he doesn’t think he could get that player to consistently perform to the level that Arsene would want him to get. He wouldn’t have even been on the agenda.

“This is a straightforward agent recommendation, he’s got the same agent as the sporting director, so it’s an easy option for him. Three-year contract, there we go.

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“I think it’s really poor recruitment and it’s got to be said.”

Adams says it is now time Mikel Arteta dropped Willian and gave younger players a chance.

He added: “The thing is, as a coach, you’ve been given this player or he wanted this player, you don’t have to play him.

“He’s not playing [Mesut] Ozil, one of the greatest creative players there is.

“To have someone like Willian, one shot in 12 games, I’m like ‘put [Joe] Willock out there’, we’ve got [Gabriel] Martinelli back in there. You’ve got other options.”

Last week, Arsenal technical director Edu defended Willian and backed him to come good eventually.

“Listen, everybody knows Willian,” Edu told reporters.

“If people say that he’s not a good footballer then maybe they don’t know football because he has always performed at the top, top level. Then he moved.

“For me, Willian is a question of time to be performing how we know he can.

“What do you expect? Do you expect it straight away? Boom! Willian can be the best one? But he needs a little bit of time, it’s strange as well to say that but you need time to know the players who you are going to play with.”

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