Arsenal are going nowhere with deals such as the one that took Willian to Emirates Stadium, says Tony Adams, with the Gunners urged to favour home-grown stars over experienced additions with questionable commitment.
Mikel Arteta moved to snap up a Brazil international forward when he hit the free agent pool in the summer of 2020.
Willian had spent seven years starring for Chelsea, taking in 339 appearances for the Blues and helping them to two Premier League titles.
He was considered to be quite a coup for the Gunners, but the 32-year-old has struggled to make an impact in north London and questions are already being asked of his value to the collective cause.
Adams remains baffled as to why a deal was done, with the former Arsenal captain telling Stadium Astro: “Why have you brought him into the squad? If you have got him just to make up the numbers because he has got a bit of experience, where are you going with that?
“I have cried out about the recruitment on more than one occasion. Edu is very inexperienced and they were heavily reliant on agents to get players into the club. All of a sudden you have got Willian, Cedric, all the same agent.
“We have got so many kids coming through, don’t buy these players!
“You spot areas of the squad that are weak. You don’t go and get Willian on a three-year contract, that is going nowhere. That is really poor sports directorship.
“We all get ones wrong, but if you are building a club to win the league then you don’t fill up areas when you have good kids coming through.”
Arsenal have been keeping a pathway open for academy graduates, with Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe impressing in the current campaign.
Decisions to snap up the likes of Willian and Nicolas Pepe are, however, facing plenty of criticism, with the Gunners still waiting on proven performers tied to lucrative contracts to fire.
Progress has been made over recent weeks in spite of those struggles, with a 3-1 win over Southampton last time out meaning that Arsenal have taken 16 Premier League points from the last 18 on offer.