‘You need to build Arsenal’s future, Per’ – Adams takes aim at Mertesacker for leaving academy role

A man who spent 22 years anchoring the defence in north London has questioned the German’s decision to leave the club’s youth sector

Tony Adams has taken a swipe at Per Mertesacker for leaving his role as Arsenal’s academy director to assist interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg with the first team.

Arsenal flopped yet again on Thursday evening, losing 2-1 at home to a Brighton side that had gone into the match off the back of three straight losses in the Premier League.

A solitary strike from Alexandre Lacazette was the only plus point on the night, with goals from Adam Webster and Neal Maupay condemning the Gunners to yet another loss and takes their streak of games without a win to nine across all competitions.

But, while getting the first team back to winning ways is clearly the club’s main focus in the short term, Adams has questioned Mertesacker’s decision to leave the club’s youth sector as producing talent will put the Gunners in good stead for the future.

“Per Mertesacker is the academy director. The club have taken him out of his role,” Adams told Premier League Productions after the Seagulls left the Emirates with three points.

“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 really affect [the first team]? I think I’ve made my point.”

Mesut Ozil was caught on camera shouting at Lacazette after the match, the playmaker looking visibly frustrated, and Adams admitted that he was happy to see some ‘spirit’ from a man whose commitment is often called into question due to poor body language.

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“I don’t mind that actually,” Adams said. “There’s a little bit of spirit there. I don’t mind that. Maybe he should have done it before the game. Before the game and take that attitude on to the pitch. The game’s gone now, it’s all over.

“If he’d got the frustration out before the game and say ‘I’m really going to go and run around and do my stuff today’. He’s frustrated, obviously.”

Arsenal return to action on Monday with a London derby trip to West Ham.

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