Tag Archives: olivier

Olivier Giroud: I picked the wrong time to join Arsenal

I picked the wrong time to join Arsenal, admits 12m summer signing Giroud

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UPDATED:

22:42 GMT, 7 December 2012

Olivier Giroud has admitted he may have joined Arsenal at the wrong time, with the club experiencing their worst start to the season for 18 years and selling 'some of the best players every two or three years'.

The 26-year-old striker, who has scored seven goals in 22 games since his 12million move from Montpellier last summer, said Arsenal do not create enough chances and are guilty of over-playing the ball in front of goal.

French fancy: Giroud is the 23rd Frenchman to play during Wenger's reign

French fancy: Giroud is the 23rd Frenchman to play during Wenger's reign

Giroud has immersed himself in the 'weight of history' at Arsenal, but does not feel pressure to emulate Arsenal forwards such as Robin van Persie, Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp.

Asked whether he felt he had arrived at the wrong time, Giroud told L'Equipe magazine: 'Yes. But it puts less pressure on my shoulders. I feel the pressure of the result, not the weight of my predecessors. When you come to a big club, of course you replace a great striker (like Van Persie). It's useless to have that in your head.

'It is up to the new boys to make sure the others are forgotten.We need to be more efficient in all areas of the pitch – to be more realistic and to offer more variety.

'When you're attacking, you hope for more crosses. It is not spontaneous enough when we are in positions to cross. I have talked with my team-mates about this.

'Arsenal has the culture of the passing game, perhaps too much. I am not staking a claim to be the coach, but I am fortunate to be at a club where we can talk about such things.'

Giroud believes Arsenal, who sit 10th with just 21 points from their first 15 games, should look at his former club to see a side capable of winning the championship without 'spending millions'.

On the ball: Per Mertesacker and Giroud in training

On the ball: Per Mertesacker and Giroud in training

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has described Montpellier's first Ligue 1 title last season as a 'miracle', given Paris Saint- Germain's financial clout since Qatar Sports Investments bought a 70 per cent stake in June 2011.

Montpellier finished 14th in 2010-11 but won the league by three points from PSG a year later. Giroud was the competition's joint top scorer with 21 goals.

He said: 'My story proves that you can win titles without being a star. Manchester City became champions thanks to their chequebook. Montpellier took on PSG without using their chequebook. Here we bought Santi Cazorla and he did not cost 50 million! Arsene Wenger does not buy a team. He builds one. He built his group with this philosophy.

'Even though it's been seven years since the club won anything, they have a strong identity. Even if the club lose some of their best players every two or three years, they do not deviate from this philosophy.'

Arsenal legend: French striker Thierry Henry

Arsenal legend: French striker Thierry Henry

Giroud admitted he gets goosebumps when he hears fans singing his name to the tune of The Beatles' Hey Jude and believes he has fitted in well at a Premier League club with a 'Frenchy' touch.

'I am the 23rd Frenchman to play here since the arrival of Arsene Wenger,' he added. 'This club are marked by the goals of Henry and by Patrick Vieira. There is music in the locker room before matches; it was forbidden at Montpellier. I love this casual approach.

'But it's true, Arsenal do some things a French way. The photo of Vieira and the coach with the league trophy in 2004, it talks to me. There is also a statue of Thierry Henry.

'Once you've integrated as an Arsenal player, it gives you confidence. Fans make you understand that it is an honour to wear this shirt.'

Olivier Giroud urges Arsene Wenger to sign Thierry Henry

Get Henry! Arsenal frontman Giroud urges Wenger to sign legend for a third time

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UPDATED:

11:38 GMT, 26 November 2012

Olivier Giroud has urged Thierry Henry to re-sign for Arsenal in January.

Henry has been training with the north London club during the MLS off-season, and manager Arsene Wenger has refused to rule out another move for the Gunners legend.

The New York Red Bulls striker, 35, scored twice during his seven-game loan spell last season, including a storybook winner against Leeds in the FA Cup on his return to the club he served from 1999 to 2007.

Fancy seeing you here, Thierry: Henry may be in line for a third stint at Arsenal

Fancy seeing you here, Thierry: Henry may be in line for a third stint at Arsenal

Wenger said he would make a decision on Henry's potential return in January but admitted it was a tempting prospect given the former France star's qualities and the fact Arsenal will be 'short' of strikers in the new year owing to the Africa Cup of Nations.

And Giroud admitted he'd love to link up with his fellow Frenchman at the Emirates.

'Henry misses the enthusiasm around the Premier League,' Giroud said. 'But he didn't tell me if he will be back. It would be great joy to play with him.'

Leading the line: Giroud has urged Wenger to re-sign Henry

Leading the line: Giroud has urged Wenger to re-sign Henry

Giroud has scored four goals in his last five appearances for the Gunners and says he's slowly beginning to adapt to life in the Barclays Premier League after his arrival from Montpellier in a 12million deal during the summer.

'I have to improve my statistics again and again. I have been patient and worked, said Giroud who was speaking to French newspaper L'Equipe.

'When you come into a new club, there is a time to adapt. Even Thierry Henry experienced it. If I could achieved just half of what he achieved.'

He added: 'I love that city [London], it is eccentric, and so cosmopolitan. There are so many things to do. You can never be bored.'

Arsene Wenger responds to Arsenal fans" criticism

Wenger opts for sarcasm as Arsenal fans voice frustrations against Villa

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UPDATED:

22:20 GMT, 25 November 2012

It was short, sweet and to the point.

After Arsenal’s travelling support chanted ‘You don’t know what you’re doing’ at Arsene Wenger following his late substitution of Olivier Giroud, the club’s manager chose sarcasm as a convenient escape.

Well, it was either that or criticising his own fans which is the game’s No 1 no-go area as far as football managers are concerned.

I can't look! Arsenal fans watch on dejected as their side struggles

I can't look! Arsenal fans watch on dejected as their side struggles

I can't look! Arsenal fans watch on dejected as their side struggles

‘I’ve been lucky,’ he said, ‘I’ve only managed 1,600 games and in 200 matches in the Champions League.’

As a neutral, it was difficult not to feel a tad of sympathy. Given Wenger’s monumental achievements over the past 15 years, perhaps he deserves more understanding.

Saturday’s outing at a drenched Villa Park was the Gunners’ 10th game in 34 days. Some of his players had used their spare week in that time to represent their respective countries.

This Wednesday’s trip to Everton kicks off a spell of five matches inside a fortnight. It is a hefty workload.

And Wenger travelled to the Midlands on the back of a vital home Champions League qualification game with Montpellier.

Benched: Jack Wilshere was rested by Wenger against Aston Villa

Benched: Jack Wilshere was rested by Wenger against Aston Villa

Arsenal fans howled for the introduction of Jack Wilshere after barely an hour, vocalising their criticism of the manager still further. They were right, too. This stalemate needed a touch of genius.

But equally Wenger’s explanation was sensible. After being without the England international for such a lengthy period of time, he’s using his experience to guide the playmaker through.

‘Jack’s ankle is inflamed,’ he said, ‘it’s around the scar tissue. It’s not much but the rest today will help him get rid of it.

‘Apart from that, he’s done well. But he’s not played competitively for 17 months. People forget what that means — in terms of his career, 17 months is a massive length of time.

Under the cosh: Arsene Wenger

Under the cosh: Arsene Wenger

‘But I’m happy with his progress.’

It was fair to say that Arsenal’s usual crispness of passing was lacking but Villa, with Paul Lambert watching from the stands following his one-match ban for criticising match officials, were far more solid after conceding eight goals in their last two outings.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain appeared particularly afflicted by the hosts’ industry. But again Wenger’s comments were on the level.

‘He’s learning his trade and he’s a very talented young boy,’ he said, ‘I believe he will be a great player but at the moment he is learning his job. Basically, he’s 19 years old.’

As for Lambert, he trotted out his usual ‘We’ll be fine’ line.

He’s right, fine lines are what the game’s all about. But he’s not out of the woods yet.

If Villa’s next three matches against Reading, QPR and Stoke City don’t go according to plan, he might need his own method of self-defence.

Oh well, he could always phone Wenger for advice.

Giroud: Gunners must ignore critics and get in shape for Schalke

Giroud: Gunners must ignore critics and get in shape for Schalke

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UPDATED:

23:37 GMT, 3 November 2012

Olivier Giroud feels Arsenal must not
listen to the doubters when the Gunners look to get their Champions
League campaign back on track with victory over Schalke in Gelsenkirchen
next week.

The Germans recorded an impressive
2-0 win at Emirates Stadium a fortnight ago, which put them top of Group
B and dented Arsenal's hopes of securing early qualification for the
knockout stages.

It was a flat display by Arsene
Wenger's team, who had won their opening European game in Montpellier
and also beaten Olympiakos, which followed on from a first Barclays
Premier League away defeat at Norwich.

Losing their heads: Olivier Giroud (right) jumps with Per Mertesacker to head the ball

Losing their heads: Olivier Giroud (right) jumps with Per Mertesacker to head the ball

Giroud, however, insists Arsenal must not let their confidence be dented by critics, who will use those below-par performances and today's 2-1 defeat at Manchester United as evidence the team cannot last the distance.

'We have to continue to play through the lines, to find the solutions and to keep confident about our qualities. That is what the boss has his finger on and wants us to do, to keep playing our football,' Giroud told Arsenal Player.

'Schalke may defend strongly and it might be difficult for us to break them down, but we must keep going and going, keep playing football and keep confident – we have to go forward.

Better times: Olivier Giroud celebrates after victory at Reading

Better times: Olivier Giroud celebrates after victory at Reading

'We are a team that always likes to play football, with quality passing and movement, so to just defend and not play is not Arsenal.'

French striker Giroud, 26, insists Arsenal must head to Germany looking for victory rather than just aiming not to get beaten.

'We want to go to Germany with the idea of winning. We want to show our mental and technical qualities,' he said. 'We go to Germany confident. I know that Schalke will consider Arsenal as a good team, so although they won the first leg, we know that they expect to play a hard game because we want to do better.'

Arsenal were second best for long spells against the well-organised Germans a fortnight ago, with second-half goals from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Ibrahim Afellay condemning the Gunners to a first home defeat in Europe for 45 matches.

Giroud, however, rejected suggestions Arsenal had not been prepared for the challenge they faced from the Bundesliga outfit.

'I don't think we underestimated Schalke in the last match, I just don't think our overall performance was good enough on the night,' he said. 'Schalke are experienced in the Champions League and we had seen videos of them, and we had analysed their game and their qualities. We were not surprised by their qualities and their players.

Tough task: Schalke were too strong for Arsenal at the Emirates

Tough task: Schalke were too strong for Arsenal at the Emirates

'We must give credit to Schalke for their performance on the night, but now we know what we will be up against in Germany next week.

'We know that we have to play very well in Germany to make sure we come back home to London with some points.'

Giroud now feels settled into the Arsenal side following his summer move from Montpellier, and scored his first Premier League goal at West Ham before the international break.

Opening his account: Olivier Giroud scores against West Ham

Opening his account: Olivier Giroud scores against West Ham

'I must say, I prefer English football because I have more invested in each match. You just have to be more physical and athletic in every single match,' he said.

'There are no easy matches in England. You have to be ready to make contact with very hard defenders each time you go on to the pitch. 'I was ready for this challenge and I must say that I am not surprised at what I am now experiencing.'

Fernando Llorente on Arsenal radar

Llorente is on Wenger striker list as Arsenal boss eyes long-term RVP replacement

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UPDATED:

23:01 GMT, 10 October 2012

Arsene Wenger will open his chequebook to land Robin van Persie’s long-term successor when the transfer window re-opens.

The Arsenal manager has instructed his global network of scouts to start identifying realistic forward targets the club can go for in January.

And Wenger, together with his backroom team, will hold a series of technical meetings where those players identified will be discussed and formalised into a shortlist.

Wenger has in the region of 35million to splash at the turn of the year and has made a new world-class centre-forward his top priority.

Head boy: Wenger is interested in signing Spain forward Llorente

Head boy: Wenger is interested in signing Spain forward Llorente (left)

The Frenchman accepts he has not
sufficiently replaced Van Persie after the Holland international moved
to Premier League rivals Manchester United.

Despite claims to the contrary,
Olivier Giroud’s capture was always viewed as an option to supplement
the Arsenal attack rather than spearhead it.
It was hoped that Giroud would hit the ground running after his arrival,
but the France international has scored just once in the Premier
League.

Wenger has also tried Gervinho in the
central striker role – and while the Ivory coast forward has impressed
at times – Wenger is not convinced he is the answer.

Likewise, Lukas Podolski can be
deployed as a conventional No 9 but Wenger feels the Germany
international is best suited to the left-sided role he currently
occupies.

Option: Arsenal could also turn to Lopez

Option: Arsenal could also turn to Lopez

Early contenders are Atletico Madrid striker Adrian Lopez, a player who has already been scouted intensively by Arsenal spies.

Athletic Bilbao forward Fernando
Llorente is also highly-rated by Wenger. The Spain international is out
of contract at the end of the season meaning he could be available at a
cut-price fee.

Another option is Fiorentina forward
Stevan Jovetic who has been on Arsenal’s radar for over 12 months, while
Palermo’s Abel Hernandez has also been watched.

As Sportsmail revealed
on Tuesday, the Gunners are also in the running to sign Crystal
Palace’s Wilfried Zaha – though the 19-year-old is not viewed as a
centre-forward.

Arsenal are also in the market for a
goalkeeper to challenge No 1 Wojciech Szczesny in January. Wenger is
keen on Swansea’s Michel Vorm.

Attracting interest: Michel Vorm

Attracting interest: Michel Vorm

The Gunners hope their January spending will be supplemented by a
mini-clearout. Arsenal will continue with their ongoing mission to sell
the club’s unwanted stars.

The likes of Nicklas Bendtner, Carlos
Vela, Manuel Almunia, Denilson and Park Chu-young all left on a
temporary or permanent basis during the summer.

But Arsenal are still keen to offload Marouane Chamakh, Sebastien Squillaci, Johan Djourou and Andrey Arshavin.

Meanwhile, starlet Chuba Akpom, who celebrated his 17th birthday this week, has signed professional terms at the Emirates

Chuba has represented England at a
number of development levels and scored three goals in four games for
the Under 17s at the 2011 Nordic Tournament.

Arsenal can win title, says Arsene Wenger

My Gunners can win the title again! Wenger full of confidence after victory at West Ham

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UPDATED:

12:56 GMT, 7 October 2012

Arsene Wenger feels Arsenal are showing they have the qualities needed to win the title.

The Gunners battled to a 3-1 win at West Ham on Saturday, after falling a goal behind.

Mohamed Diame put the Irons in front, but Arsenal dug deep to level before the interval through Olivier Giroud, his first in the Premier League, with substitute Theo Walcott adding a second on the break and the industrious Santi Cazorla cracking in a 25-yard effort to wrap things up with seven minutes left.

Good day at the office: Arsene Wenger saw his team win at West Ham

Good day at the office: Arsene Wenger saw his team win at West Ham

Wenger's men will now head into the international break confident they can build a sustained attack on the top four, and maybe finish top of the pile for the first time since 2004.

'We started with a lot of questions raised about the team. We have now played seven games and the belief in the squad is that we have a chance,' he said.

'Of course we now need to do it week after week. The spirit and quality are there. It is about how consistent we are now.'

Wenger added: 'It was important for us to respond well and after our defeat against Chelsea, we won against Olympiacos on Wednesday night.

Eye for goal: Olivier Giroud scores for Arsenal at Upton Park

Eye for goal: Olivier Giroud scores for Arsenal at Upton Park

'We had a difficult game three days later and we knew a draw here was not good enough for us, so we went for it and gave absolutely everything to win the game.'

Giroud, a 12million signing from Montpellier, was recalled to the side yesterday, and produced a determined display in a central striker role, converting Lukas Podolski's cross at the near post.

Wenger said: 'He was good, had the physical presence and scored the goal. That will help him a lot to adapt very quickly.'

Arsenal's next Premier League game is at Norwich after the two-week break, before a home match at the end of October against struggling QPR.

Arsenal aren"t scared to spend, says Arsene Wenger

We are not scared to spend, says Wenger as Arsenal boss defends transfer policy

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UPDATED:

12:17 GMT, 27 September 2012

Arsene Wenger maintains Arsenal are not scared to spend money – but will always do it 'in the right way'.

The Gunners' parent holding company are set to post their latest set of financial results on Thursday afternoon, which are understood to again show a healthy operating profit and considerable cash reserves.

The joy of six: Arsenal romped to victory over Coventry on Wednesday

The joy of six: Arsenal romped to victory over Coventry on Wednesday

Those will be further boosted by the
24million sale of former captain Robin van Persie to Manchester United,
although also offset against the summer signings of Lukas Podolski,
Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud, who scored his first Arsenal goal in
Wednesday night's Capital One Cup win over Coventry.

Wenger believes the continued positive financial situation at the Emirates Stadium is 'very pleasing', but does represent a delicate balancing act between stability off the pitch and consistency on it.

'We want to spend our money in the right way. We are not scared to spend the money,' said Wenger.

'With some clubs we can't compete on certain players – and for the rest, we only want to bring in players who add something to our squad and give a chance as well to the young players we have.

Cash-flow: Wenger defended Arsenal's transfer policy on Thursday

Cash-flow: Wenger defended Arsenal's transfer policy on Thursday

'We have good players, because to buy one more, we have to get one out.'

'Our numbers are good,' added Wenger. 'Under the actual circumstances this is quite positive because the whole (global) environment is not positive.

'We are very lucky because we have a good support and the income of our gates is very high.

'We have to maintain that by keeping our fans happy and to continue to manage well in the way that we do it.'

Arsene Wenger can see no invincibles

Wenger can see no invincibles but admits Arsenal have a strong squad

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UPDATED:

21:51 GMT, 22 September 2012

Arsene Wenger feels he has assembled his strongest Arsenal squad for some time but maintains no team in the Barclays Premier League has looked unbeatable.

The Gunners boss moved to offset the 24million sale of captain Robin van Persie to Manchester United with the addition of experienced internationals Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski.

Podolski scored his third goal in as many games in the midweek Champions League away win over Montpellier.

Strong squad: Wenger sees plenty of talent sidelined

Strong squad: Wenger sees plenty of talent sidelined

It marked a shift in policy from Wenger, who has long championed the potential of youth.

Now, though, the French manager believes he has the balance just right for a long-overdue sustained title assault.

'In terms of quality and numbers in midfield, yes, for sure (the squad is the strongest),' Wenger said.

'When you think at the moment we have (Jack) Wilshere who is not playing, (Tomas) Rosicky who is not playing and was very important for us last year, (Emmanuel) Frimpong is not playing, (Francis) Coquelin is not playing, (Aaron) Ramsey too, so we have exceptional choice.'

Missing: Gunners are still without Jack Wilshere

Missing: Gunners are still without Jack Wilshere

Wenger, whose 2003/04 team finished the league season unbeaten and were branded 'The Invincibles', cannot see any team ready to dominate the title race this term.

'I feel it is very unpredictable at the moment,' he said. 'You have no team who gives out the strength that make you think they are unbeatable – none of the teams I have seen gave me that impression.'

Cazorla, 27, has caught the eye with a string of cavalier displays at the heart of Arsenal's unbeaten start, and while he makes frequent appearances for Spain he cannot hold down a regular position and is often used off the bench.

Wenger believes the former Malaga man would walk into most international teams.

Wenger said: 'Cazorla is a good link between midfield and the final third. He gives you availability always to turn the game forward and an exceptional technical level.

'You would think Cazorla or (Mikel) Arteta would play in many other countries, but with Spain they don't because they have (Andres) Iniesta, (Sergi) Busquets and Xavi. Players like Cazorla and Arteta, even (Cesc) Fabregas is not always playing.

'They are all technical high-level, gifted players. It is not a coincidence, it is down to the way they educate their players [in Spain]. This is a concentration on technique.'

Wenger sees similar qualities in his squad.

'Here at Arsenal, we are starting to have a little generation of players from England who are similar,' he said.

'(Alex Oxlade) Chamberlain, Wilshere, (Kieran) Gibbs has good technical level, and we have some young players behind who are similar.

'I think we will see even more and more because the whole world tries to produce these types of players.'

Arsene Wenger: Arsenal will prove our strength against Manchester City

We are strong and we'll prove that against City, says Wenger as Arsenal boss fires warning

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UPDATED:

12:55 GMT, 22 September 2012

Arsene Wenger feels there is plenty more to come from Arsenal this season – and he expects to see how their appetite corresponds to their ability in Sunday's clash with champions Manchester City.

The Gunners have responded well to the 24million sale of captain Robin van Persie to Manchester United with an unbeaten start to the new campaign, which has included a battling Champions League victory in Montpellier earlier this week.

Super Sunday: Arsenal face Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium

Super Sunday: Arsenal face Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium

But Wenger insists his squad – boosted by the summer arrivals of Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski – can step up a level as they prepare for a stern test of their ambitions at the Etihad Stadium.

'I have no doubt about the desire and hunger of my squad. Tomorrow will just tell you how strong we are at the moment,' said Wenger.

All smiles: Wenger is relishing the test against Manchester City on Sunday

All smiles: Wenger is relishing the test against Manchester City on Sunday

'I believe we are quite strong, but we have some room for improvement.

'All is not perfect, but the signs we are giving are very good and very strong.

'The hunger is massive in this squad. They want to do well, they are focused and they want to win.

'We want to continue to improve.'

Wenger accepts that while the title may not be on the line this weekend, the chance to strike a mental blow to City's aspirations of a successful defence of their crown is.

'It is the beginning of the championship and you know that this game can have a big influence on the belief of both teams, so who will have the upper hand has a psychological advantage,' Wenger said.

'On that front it's a very exciting game and while it is still very early in the season, already it is a very important game for me.'

Wenger is expecting another close contest at the top of this season's Barclays Premier League, no matter what the leading sides may achieve in Europe. City went down 3-2 away at Real Madrid in midweek.

'Manchester City didn't win the championship last year by 10 points,' Wenger said.

Welcome back, Jack: Wilshere is closing in on a first-team return

Welcome back, Jack: Wilshere is closing in on a first-team return

'It was in the last two minutes, so it was very, very tight, and I think it will be very tight again this year.'

Midfielder Mikel Arteta can also see what an impact beating City could have on the rest of Arsenal's campaign. He told Arsenal Player:

'It is still too early, whatever happens on Sunday, but if you get points there, and you win then you make a bit of a statement.

'It grows the confidence of the team and everyone around it who believes we are as good as anyone in this league. These are good places to show that.'

The Spanish midfielder added: 'It is a huge test for us. We have been playing well. “We played really good when we went to Liverpool – that's a tough place to get three points, but we did it.

'This is another test. Man City haven't lost at home for a while.

'We know it's going to be difficult, but I am sure they will be thinking the same thing.'

Arsenal must do without goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny because of an ankle problem. Vito Mannone has proved an able deputy so far this season, keeping two clean sheets.

Wenger said of the Italian: 'Football is down to competition and performances. It is a good opportunity for Mannone to show the quality that I believe he has.

'The games, up until now, indicated he has that.'

Emanuel Herrera told to become French: Montpellier 1 Arsenal 2 match zone

Stade de la Mosson Match Zone: Giroud's replacement Herrera told to 'become French'

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UPDATED:

22:35 GMT, 18 September 2012

Olivier Giroud started against his former club but the man who replaced him at Montpellier, Argentine Emanuel Herrera, was dropped to the bench.

'He needs to become French,' said Montpellier owner Louis Nicollin. Ouch!

Dropped: Emanuel Herrera was told to become more French

Dropped: Emanuel Herrera was told to become more French

Adams critical of sales policy

As Arsenal began life in Europe without Robin van Persie, Tony Adams branded his old side a ‘selling club’.

The former Arsenal captain questioned the board’s ambition after the departures of players such as Van Persie, Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas.

Glory days: Arsene Wenger (left) and Tony Adams (right) celebrate winning the Double back in 2002

Glory days: Arsene Wenger (left) and Tony Adams (right) celebrate winning the Double back in 2002

Adams told the Evening Standard: ‘It sends out all the wrong messages. It was different for me. I had people in the boardroom who were very ambitious and wanted to win.’