Date: 6th December 2019 at 4:11pm
Written by:

Arsenal legend Tony Adams has called out Per Mertesacker for leaving his role as academy director to become interim manager Freddie Ljungberg’s assistant. 

The ex-Germany international took the step up in the aftermath of Unai Emery’s dismissal, but Adams has openly questioned whether it was the right move to make.

Speaking to Premier League productions, as quoted by the Daily Mail, the ex-Gunner said: “He’s got to do the recruitment for the future of the club. We’ve got to produce players.

“That’s more important than what’s going on today on that football pitch. You need to build the future of Arsenal Football Club, Per Mertesacker.

“That’s what he’s got to do, concentrate on that. Go and find the players, go and sort that out. You can’t take him out. What’s the academy doing at the moment?

“How long does this continue, did it [Mertesacker moving across to assist Ljungberg] really effect it? I think I’ve made my point.”

Is Adams right?

The former skipper certainly isn’t messing about with these comments here, is he?

Adams is known for his plain-speaking, no-nonsense approach, and in this instance, he looks to have hit the nail on the head.

If Ljungberg is merely an interim appointment, and based in his first two games at the helm he has little hope of ever being anything else, then why have the Gunners felt the need to give him an assistant who has such a prominent role at the club already?

It wreaks of two possible scenarios. Firstly, Ljungberg is no interim at all, and the hope was that he could come in, like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer did at Manchester United last season, turn things around, and the board could replace Unai Emery on the cheap.

The alternative is that there was never any belief in Ljungberg’s ability as a manager, and they felt he needed back-up from another coaching talent who knows the club inside out.

If that is the case, why was the Swede given the gig in the first place?

It feels shambolic, and, as Adams says, it makes absolutely no sense to sacrifice the club’s long term plans for a period that, by its very nature, is supposed to be brief.