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Tony Adams has blamed the arrival of Edu for Arsenal’s failure to sign Jude Bellingham ahead of Borussia Dortmund.
The Gunners were one of several teams who were keeping tabs on Bellingham’s rapid progress at Birmingham City. Manchester United were also keen on Bellingham and had given the midfielder a tour of their training ground where he met Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Sir Alex Ferguson and Ed Woodward. But Adams claims Arsenal had a deal ‘more or less done’ for Bellingham last year before the arrival of Edu as the club’s new technical director put the brakes on the move.
The former Arsenal captain claims Steve Morrow, who was sacked as Arsenal’s head of youth scouting last November, played a key role in the Gunners’ pursuit of Bellingham. But Arsenal went cold on the deal and the 17-year-old ended up joining Borussia Dortmund in July for a deal that could rise to £30 million.
‘I think it got lost, this one, in the transition of the chief scout at Arsenal going out,’ Adams told Sky Sports News.
‘He was spotted very early on, not by me, by the Arsenal recruitment office. ‘The chief scout was absolutely bowled over by him and the great prospect that he is.
‘He had more or less done the deal but at that moment the new sporting director Edu came in from Brazil and had no European experience and no UK experience. ‘And I think it got lost in the transition, Edu didn’t know anything about this player.
‘Unfortunately, the chief scout had the deal kind of done. We missed that one unfortunately. ‘They are the type of players we need to get hold of at the Arsenal if we’re ever going to develop and go forward. ‘These kind of players we need to tie up and get them to the Arsenal and build a phenomenal league team.
‘He’s a great talent but unfortunately he’s not joined the right club. ‘At Arsenal at the moment they’ve got rid of some of the best scouts in the world – Franny [Francis Cagigao] and Steve Morrow. There’s a real shift, we’ll have to wait to see.’