If the pressure finally gets to the Arsenal board, and Arsene Wenger is dismissed as manager or not offered a contract for next season, Tony Adams has thrown his hat into the ring to replace him – but only if he can build a whole new team, as “no one could win” with the current crop.
The former Gunners captain, who is immortalised in statue outside the Emirates, won 10 major trophies in 19 victorious years at the club between 1983 and 2002. But his move into management has been far less successful – relegated with Wycombe Wanderers, and sacked after 16 league matches as permanent Portsmouth manager. His last role was taking charge of FC Gabala in Azerbaijan but he left after an uneventful 18-month spell.
“One hundred per cent I'd like to be Arsenal manager," Adams told zapsportz.com.
"Of course my heart says 'yes, yes, yes', but my head says 'can I win with this current team?' My answer is no, I can't and I am not sure anyone can.
"I would want assurances if I walk through the door, those assurances meaning I'm given the go ahead to build a new team.
"I would get my teeth into building a new team but to achieve that, you would need to spend.
"To keep hitting the top four and qualifying for the Champions League is great, and Arsene has done such a great job, but there is going to come a day, and that won't be far away, when Arsene leaves.
Wenger, who has been in charge at Arsenal since October 1996, and has one year remaining on his contract, has come under renewed criticism for his failure to make any significant signings during the transfer window, with the Arsenal Supporters' Trust declaring it would be currently "inappropriate" to offer him a new deal. Adams believes the man who replaces him will have to take on a different role than the Frenchman’s “one-man band” approach.
"For a long time he has been a one-man band, but that won't happen again. The next man appointed will be the head coach, not the manager."
Adams also believes a change of the club’s wage structure is vital if they are to compete with the elite Premier League teams again.
"I know Arsene would not spend £25million on buying Bayern's goalkeeper Manuel Neuer for example, no matter how much he might need a new keeper," Adams said.
"I think that is a great policy, but the club needs to restructure its wages spend, that is a vastly different matter.
"The club are paying in excess of £150million on players' wages but there have been a lot of average players on £50,000 a week when the big teams now need four or five players on a lot of money.
"Arsenal do not attract those big players because of their wages structure."
If Adams were to manage Arsenal, he says it would be the more defensive-minded approach of his former manager at the club George Graham that he would try to adopt, not the open style Wenger that is an advocate of.
"Also, Arsene plays too open. I've more of a defensive eye,” Adams added. “That's not to say I would be defensive, but the club have bought too many players like Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky and not enough Patrick Vieira types."
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