Arsenal’s decision to snap up Willian was “lazy recruitment”, says Tony Adams, with Mikel Arteta told that Arsene Wenger would never have taken a punt on the 32-year-old Brazilian.
Eyebrows were raised when the Gunners handed a three-year contract to an experienced South American forward over the summer.
They were, however, acquiring a two-time Premier League title winner and a player that had continued to shine at London rivals Chelsea in 2019-20.
Willian, as a proven performer in English football, was expected to slot seamlessly into the fold and add much-needed creativity to a side that has frozen out Mesut Ozil.
Arsenal have, however, been struggling to find any kind of form as a collective.
Certain individuals are doing little to aid the recovery of a fallen giant, with Willian facing plenty of criticism for his uninspiring performances.
Adams is baffled as to why the Gunners ever made a move for a winger that further highlights the lack of long-term vision at Emirates Stadium.
The Arsenal legend told reporters after seeing Willian offer little to the cause once again in a 2-1 defeat at Everton: “That’s lazy recruitment for me. You’ve got to really question the recruitment process at Arsenal at the moment.
“We’ve had some wonderful players and wonderful principles under Arsene Wenger. He went for a young player, you wouldn’t have even considered Willian if Arsene was still in control at the club.
“For him a forward over the age of 30, physiologically he doesn’t think he can get that player to consistently to perform to the levels that Arsene would want him to get, it wouldn’t even have been on the agenda.
“This is a straightforward agent recommendation, he’s got the same agent as the sports director (Edu) so it’s an easy option for him, three-year contract, there we go. I think it’s really poor recruitment.
“And to have someone like Willian, one shot in 12 games. I’m like, ‘Hold on, put Joe Willock out there’. We’ve got Gabriel Martinelli back in there. You’ve got other options.”
Arteta has shown that he is prepared to drop seasoned performers from his plans, with Ozil and Sokratis among those currently out of favour, and Willian will be aware that he needs to raise his game in order to avoid suffering a similar fate.