Arsene Wenger has labelled Tony Adams’ barbs directed at him as ‘sad’ and fired back at the former Arsenal captain to ‘show what he can do now’ after his Granada failure.
Adams claimed Wenger denied him a return to Arsenal on four occasions in autobiography revelations published on Friday — but his former manager says the Granada boss has ‘no divine right’ to come back.
And after Adams said Wenger was ‘essentially not a coach’ who he once claimed ‘couldn’t coach his way out of a paper bag’, the Frenchman placed doubt on his ex-player’s own credentials.
Arsene Wenger has challenged Tony Adams to prove his quality after being heavily criticised
Tony Adams’ ignominious spell as manager of relegated Granada came to a farcical end
Adams, 50, took over at La Liga basement club Granada almost six weeks ago and has lost every game since.
He quit a role in Arsenal’s academy last year to take up a lucrative job in China as sporting director at Chongqing Lifan before returning to European football in November.
‘He can show what he can do now,’ Wenger said of Adams. ‘Who gives importance to that? I have known him for a long time. It’s sad.
‘Look, in a football club today, you have to employ people who can help you to be successful. And sometimes it is to make harsh decisions. You have to be needed.
Wenger is preparing his side to host Everton in possibly his last game at the Emirates
Wenger and Adams during the latter’s career at Arsenal in the 1997-98 double-winning season
‘If 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.’ Writing in his new book Sober, serialised in The Sun, outspoken Adams had suggested Wenger might have seen his Double-winning former skipper as ‘too challenging for him’.
He conceded: ‘My occasional willingness to pass comment on him and the team probably counted against me.’ Wenger, though, has more important matters to immediately deal with than Adams’ autobiography.
The Arsenal boss will wait until a board meeting after next Saturday’s FA Cup final against Chelsea to make a final call on his future.
Tony Adams is pictured with Arsene Wenger after Arsenal’s title victory in 1998
Adams, currently manager at Granada, says he has tried to return to Arsenal on four occasions
But his concentration for now is directed on an unlikely shot at a top-four place when facing Everton on Sunday in what might be his final game at the Emirates Stadium, although club sources still believe Wenger will stay on.
It is a game Arsenal must win and hope Liverpool or Manchester City drop points. Though even on that topic, the Adams matter is on Wenger’s mind.
‘Let’s do well, I’m not here for personal glory or to sell books, I’m here to do the job,’ he said.
‘If we don’t win the game I’ll be sad. If we win the game I will feel we have done the job. After, the season is not over and we have to focus on the Cup final.
‘What is most important for me is to do the job well and finish the season as strongly as we can.
On his future, he added: ‘All the rest at the moment is not in my mind. I’m just focused on doing my job until the end of my contract.’
Adams once claimed Wenger ‘couldn’t coach his way out of a paper bag’
Wenger addresses the audience at The Arsenal Foundation’s annual fundraiser on Thursday