Arsene Wenger says he finds it sad that Tony Adams felt the need to criticise him in his upcoming book.
The former Arsenal captain has a second autobiography coming out, and in it he said he had considered saying his former manager ‘couldn’t coach his way out of a paper bag’ before tempering it slightly.
In a serialisation in The Sun (ugh), Adams said of a piece he’d written, “In the original draft, I said he couldn’t coach his way out of a paper bag. And though I modified that in the final article, it didn’t go down well.”
Whatever you might think of Wenger now, he helped extend Tony’s career, and enabling him to captain Arsenal to a double in 1997-98, and the Premier League title in 2002, making him the only man to captain a side to the title in three different decades.
Speaking about what was said in the book, the Arsenal manager said, “I know him for a long time. It’s sad. I’m not here for personal glory or to sell books, I’m here to do the job.
“I am respectful to everybody. I don’t have anything to say about that. For me it’s a subject of no interest and so I would like to dedicate my time to something that is more interesting.”
And responding to Adams’ claims about how he’d tried to find a job at Arsenal over the years, Wenger was clear about why it didn’t happen.
“In a football club today, you have to employ people who can help you to be successful,” he said.
“And sometimes it is necessary to make harsh decisions. But there is no right. I think if I leave tomorrow Arsenal I have no right to come back, because I have worked here.
“You have to be needed. And like you have made a career as a player somewhere, it doesn’t give you any divine right to come back. That’s what it is.
“Because all the players, at some stage, they decide to leave, when their interest was to leave. It is not like some players have never left the club.
“When it was their interest to go somewhere else, they went somewhere else.”
Arsenal did offer Adams a job coaching the under 18s last year, which he accepted, before chasing a more lucrative offer in China. One which has led him to managing Spanish side Granada now, but they have lost every game since he took over.
And as much as Tony Adams was a brilliant player and captain for us – something nobody can ever doubt – it’s difficult to see what he could have contributed as a coach when you look at his post-playing career to date.
As Wenger said, the whole thing feels a bit sad.