Tony Adams questions Arsenal's transfer policy


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The Independent Football

Former Arsenal captain Tony Adams admits it is “hard to take” seeing his old club continue to sell their best players - and questioned if that policy can see them compete again for trophies.

The 45-year-old spent almost 20 seasons at Highbury, winning the Double twice under Arsene Wenger.

Adams believes allowing the likes of Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas and captain Robin van Persie to move to rival teams goes against everything they were trying to build for the future, claiming it made them nothing more than a "feeder club".

Speaking in the London Evening Standard, Adams said: "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.

"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."

Adams former defensive partner Steve Bould has moved into the Arsenal dugout as assistant manager this season following the retirement of Pat Rice.

The Gunners have since conceded only one clean sheet in their four unbeaten Barclays Premier League games.

Adams, though, feels Arsenal's impetus will always be on the attack.

"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," he said.

"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 win 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..."

Former Portsmouth boss Adams is working in Azerbaijan as an advisor to Gabala FC, whom he also briefly managed last season, and will start a stint as a TV pundit for tonight's Champions League Group B opener in Montpellier.

While Adams expects the French champions to offer little trouble for the Gunners, he feels the European Cup remains out of their reach.

"I expect them to score goals, but they cannot win the Champions League with their current mentality," he said.

"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."