Arsenal slammed by club legend for Odegaard, Willian, and Pepe deals

Martin Macdonald
Martin Macdonald Updated: 19 May 2021 16:43 CEST 2 min read
Arsenal slammed by club legend for Odegaard, Willian, and Pepe deals

Former Arsenal captain Tony Adams is annoyed that the club have signed Martin Odegaard, Willian, an Pepe in recent years as he reckons the signings could potentially impact the development of young players at the Emirates.

In the summer of 2019, Arsenal completed the transfer of Pepe from Lille for a club-record £72 million (€79m) – a fee that he is yet to live up to through his performances.

They were subsequently criticised ahead of the 2020/21 season by signing Willian on a free transfer from Chelsea on reportedly huge wages, while Odegaard was brought in this January despite the outstanding performances of Emile Smith Rowe who plays in the same position.

Adams believes Arsenal should have trusted the likes of Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka to come good rather than bringing in other players.

“To be honest, there’s an argument that you don’t need Martin Odegaard,” Adams told Premier League Productions.

“I got so annoyed that we bought Pepe and Willian in when you’ve got two kids [Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka] bursting into the team.”

Even though Unai Emery and now Mikel Arteta have brought in Kieran Tierney, Cedric Soares, Pablo Mari, Gabriel, and William Saliba to improve their backline at the Emirates during their respective tenures in recent years, Adams would have liked more attention to be paid to the defensive issues at the club.

“There are other areas in the team that you could look at, there are holes in that team, we saw how fragile they are defensively. The defence has always been the weak link,” Adams continued.

“As the sporting director of Arsenal you wouldn’t be getting Odegaard in, you’d be getting good, strong defenders into the team instead.”

Arsenal are currently 10th in the Premier League, having won just 10 out of their 24 matches in the English top flight so far in the 2020/21 campaign.

At the weekend, they were involved in an entertaining victory against Leeds, defeating Marcelo Bielsa’s side 4-2 in London.