‘Edu didn’t know anything about this player’: Arsenal had deal ‘kind of done’ for Jude Bellingham but blew the chance to beat Borussia Dortmund to the teenage sensation after arrival of new sporting director, reveals legend Tony Adams
- The Gunners were tracking Bellingham’s progress whilst he was at Birmingham
- Arsenal’s chief scout at the time was ‘bowled over’ by the 17-year-old midfielder
- Adams insists Bellingham is a great talent but ‘he’s not joined the right club’
- The former Arsenal captain has also criticised the decision to sell Emi Martinez
Tony Adams has claimed that Arsenal blew the chance to sign Jude Bellingham because sporting director Edu did not know who he was.
The former Arsenal captain said that a deal was ‘kind of done’ for the exciting teenage prospect before either Manchester United or Borussia Dortmund had entered the race for the former Birmingham youngster.
But it was then ‘lost in the transition’ after Edu took over from former head of recruitment Sven Mislintat in 2019.
Jude Bellingham’s performances for Borussia Dortmund have earned him an England call up
Tony Adams has revealed Arsenal were close to signing Bellingham before he joined Dortmund
The 17-year-old rejected a high-profile pursuit from United to sign for German giants Dortmund in a £25m deal in the summer, and has this week received his first senior England call-up.
But he could have done so while playing under Mikel Arteta at the Emirates Stadium, according to Adams.
The Gunners legend told Sky Sports: ‘I think it got lost, this one, in the transition of the chief scout at Arsenal going out.
‘He was spotted very early on, not by me, by the Arsenal recruitment office.
Bellingham’s call-up comes after an impressive start to life at Borussia Dortmund
Bellingham was due to join up with the Under 21 squad but will now meet with the senior side
‘The chief scout was absolutely bowled over by him and the great prospect that he is.
‘He had the deal kind of done but at that moment the new sporting director Edu came in from Brazil and had no European experience and no UK experience.
‘I think it got lost in the transition, Edu didn’t know nothing about this player.’
Bellingham has made 10 appearances already for Dortmund this season and has become the youngest Englishman to ever appear in the Champions League.
Adams also also criticised Gunners boss Mikel Arteta for selling goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez to Aston Villa in the summer.
The 28-year-old impressed in goal last season after he replaced first choice goalkeeper Bernd Leno, following his season ending injury and played a vital role in Arsenal’s FA Cup triumph.
Former Arsenal keeper Emi Martinez has made an impressive start to his Aston Villa career
However Martinez was given no assurances on playing time by Arteta and sought a move away from the Emirates, he joined Villa for a fee rising to £20million and has kept four clean sheets in seven league games.
‘I always said if want to win the league again they need the best goalkeeper and for me, Leno is not the best goalkeeper. Adams told Sky Sports.
‘I’ve called into question with Martinez being let go. That was a mistake for me. I think he’s come of age and he performed excellently last season.
‘Why would you – a club wanting to win the league – let go one of the best goalkeepers in the country? I don’t see that as a good decision.’
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