Arsenal’s former youth supremo Terry Burton says the club have made a mistake appointing Andries Jonker to replace Liam Brady.
Burton interviewed for the position but was overlooked for the Dutchman who arrived at the club to replace the Irishman who announced his departure last year.
Jonker had spells at Bayern Munich as assistant to Louis van Gaal before managing the club on an interim basis, as well as jobs as assistant of Wolfsburg and Willem II.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s game against West Brom, where he’s now employed as ‘Technical Director’, Burton said of Jonker’s appointment, “I still think they’ve made a big mistake. I think if it wasn’t me, there’s good people out there that they could have put in.
“It’s a massive job. There’s a lot of work to be done there. Arsenal, with respect, have fallen behind. They just weren’t working hard enough, like Chelsea.
“They’ve got the best pathway, because they’ve got Arsène Wenger, who gives young players a chance, better than any other club. But the processes, and things that had just been missing over a period of years, Chelsea had steamed ahead in their recruitment and all aspects of it really.
“That gap can close. But it’s too soon to tell. The guy there … you’ll have a better idea in five years.”
His dismissal of the Dutchman continued as he said revealed a conversation with Ivan Gazidis, saying, “I told him: ‘I think you’re mad. I think you’ve got it wrong. If ever you were going to get it right, I was the best person to do it.’
“I knew the club, I knew the players that we’d got and didn’t have. I knew from under-12s right the way through.
“I went to see Arsène, and Arsène said he’d had nothing to do with it – he hadn’t signed his contract at that time. I told Arsène in the January that I would leave in the summer. He said: ‘Don’t go, I’d like you to stay’.
“But I didn’t want to work under someone else. I was prepared to do it because it was Liam Brady, but not someone brought in from outside.”
The new man has expressed his own disenchantment in recent weeks, suggesting he’s got a big job on his hands, but for all the criticism around the club at the moment, Jonker looks like a forward thinking appointment.
Time will tell, we guess.