Last week it was confirmed that Tony Adams had been handed the sporting director role at La Liga side Granada.
The former Arsenal captain completed the move to Spain after spending last season working with Chinese Superleague side Chongqing Dangdai Lifan who, like the Andalusian side, are owned by Shanghai-based businessman Jiang Lizhang.
Granada are currently second bottom of La Liga and face an uphill struggle to retain their top-flight status, however, Adams insists his main focus is setting the club on the path to a sustainable future based on a strong youth academy.
“Every day I’m working with the coaching staff at Granada CF, looking to the future,” he told Grenada’s official website.
“Our aim is that our squad will contain mostly Spanish players next year, whatever level the team is playing in next season.
“I’m here to put the Spanish structure in place, with players who will belong to Granada CF and who will fight for Granada.
“We inherited 106 players, of whom only 44 actually belong to Granada CF. Our aim is to return Granada CF to Granada so the people here can identify fully with their team and their players.”
Adams also confirmed that his Grenada role sits alongside his responsibilities as vice-president of Lizhang’s DDMC Football Club Management Company, which appears to have long-term aims of raising awareness of Chinese football across the globe.
“I believe that with patience, the structure we are setting in place will be able to take the club where we want it to be, once more,” continued Adams.
“We want to be a mid-table team in LaLiga with players who belong to Granada CF, with a world class Academy developing local and Spanish players, with world class training facilities.
“If there’s a Chinese player playing with the first team eventually, then that would be the icing on the cake for the president, but he’s certainly not going to insist on that. All these things will take time, as sometimes you need to take one step back and clear up all the problems, before you can take two steps forward.
“However, our main concern right now is to concentrate and focus on our last ten games of this season. We all need to support [manager] Lucas Alcaraz and the team, making sure that everyone is fighting for safety in La Liga in every game, right to the end.”
Since retiring as a player in 2002 Tony has certainly been something of a footballing nomad, accumulating experience in both coaching and technical roles across the globe.
In addition to managerial stints with Wycombe and Portsmouth, he’s also coached and advised Azerbaijani side Gabala, taken in work experience stints with a host of top European clubs and worked with Arsenal’s youth team prior to last year’s move to China.