Tony Adams explains why he turned down Man Utd and Sir Alex Ferguson to stay at Arsenal

Tony Adams
Tony Adams had the chance to join Manchester United (Picture: Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

It is almost unthinkable, but Tony Adams could have been a Manchester United player in the 90s, but instead turned down an approach from Sir Alex Ferguson to stay at Arsenal.

The Gunners legend has recalled the time that Ferguson tried to tempt him away from Highbury to join him at Old Trafford in what would have been a seismic move in English football.

Of course Adams stayed put and would go on to win two Premier League titles under Arsene Wenger’s management, to add to the two First Division titles he won in 1989 and 91.

The legendary defender does admit he was questioning the path Arsenal were on between those great periods of success, but was convinced to stay and is very glad he did.

‘Alex Ferguson came in for me but I wouldn’t leave and I said to the chairman: “Have we got ambition at the club?”‘ Adams told Sky Sports.

Arsene Wenger and Tony Adams
Adams won four league titles as an Arsenal player (Picture: Getty Images)

‘He said, “don’t worry, we are injecting a lot of money and we are going to go for it.”

‘I stayed and the rest is history — Dennis [Bergkamp] came [in 1995] and Nicolas Anelka, [Patrick] Vieira, Manu [Emmanuel Petit], Robert Pires — we had five World Cup winners in the team.’

Adams is not quite so impressed with the type of signings Arsenal have been making in recent years as they have drifted away from title-contenders to a side struggling to qualify for European football.

‘It is a completely different club today,’ said the 53-year-old. ‘I think recruitment at Arsenal for a good few years has not been great.

‘Now we seem to be selling our best players and you are never going to recruit a championship squad selling all your best players.’

Adams fears that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is set to be the latest top player to leave Arsenal and has urged his former club to keep hold of the striker.

‘I loved [former manager] Arsene Wenger’s principles, that no player was bigger than the club, and he moved players on if it made sense for the club financially.

‘He was strong with that and he got Champions League football every year but it did stand in the way of recruitment – so we have become a club that is selling the best players.

‘If I was a coach I’d be saying, “Don’t sell Aubameyang at any price, we need to recruit, bring players through the academy and keep our best players”.’

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