Arsenal legend Tony Adams has branded Arsene Wenger's £40million bid for Luis Suarez "ridiculous" and admitted he fears the worst in Sunday's North London derby.
Adams poured scorn on a futile stakeout for big-money signings at the Emirates before the transfer window closes on Monday.
While arch-rivals and neighbours Spurs have spent £109m on an expensive summer refit, the Gunners' only major recruit so far has been to re-sign French utility warhorse Mathieu Flamini.
And ahead of this weekend's partisan tiff along the Seven Sisters Road, Adams claimed Wenger was shopping at the wrong end of the pitch by trying to sign Liverpool striker Suarez because shoring up the defence should be his priority.
Dear old Tone at 46, it is now 11 years since he made the last of his 504 appearances for Arsenal, where he choreographed the offside trap like a dance routine on Top of the Pops.
But after a penalty shoot-out with fellow north London legends Ian Wright, Ledley King and Les Ferdinand in Trafalgar Square to launch Vodafone's 4G network, the former England captain took Le Professeur to task.
Adams said: "It's not Arsene's style to pay top dollar and gamble huge sums of money on a single player, but my main criticism of him is that I would do things differently.
"This team is so gung-ho, and they are so open, that the balance is not right. They are too susceptible to the counter-attack and they never look like keeping a clean sheet.
"It's so scary, I sit there holding my breath every week. So to try and shell out £40m on Suarez or Wayne Rooney would be money badly spent on yet another player who can open doors in the attacking third while the back door remains wide open.
"I thought it was a ridiculous bid for Suarez I would never have gone there in a million years. You have got the baggage as well, but I'm not even talking about the baggage.
"Arsenal have not got a problem scoring goals, because Giroud scored 17 last season, they have got the pace of Theo, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wilshere, Ramsey. They can score from all over the pitch.
"They need someone to lock it up when it breaks down, and I would be scouring Europe for the next Gilberto.
"I must have been the only person in the country doing somersaults watching Manchester United and Chelsea keeping clean sheets the other night two fantastic, organised, solid sides giving nothing away.
"That wasn't a boring game for me, because I was wishing Arsenal could do that more often."
Like a man who knows he is not about to land a job on the Emirates coaching staff any time soon, Adams currently a consultant to Azerbaijan club FC Gabala has become increasingly vocal in his criticism of Wenger's methods.
And with the clock ticking over into a ninth season without Arsenal winning a trophy, Adams fears the balance of power in north London may be about to shift.
He added: "There's not going to be a lot in it on Sunday.
"Tottenham have spent a lot of money, they have got better and Arsenal have not been challenging for trophies while too many big players have walked out of the door, which has been galling for the supporters.
"Tottenham have come back to Arsenal in recent years and north London derbies have certainly changed a lot since my first one, when Stewart Robson kicked Glenn Hoddle all over the pitch and we could have a good fight.
"I'm also critical of Arsene for selling Robin van Persie.
"Once you have got that type of player, you should give him the world to keep him. But Robin chose to join a club who are challenging for the title every year where Arsenal are now challenging to finish in the top four.
"I admire Arsene for sticking to his principles, but somewhere along the line you have to win trophies as well. It's easy to criticise from this side of the fence, but Arsene didn't do enough to keep Van Persie."
Vodafone kicks off 4G network in London with a choice of Sky Sports TV or Spotify Premium before launching in 12 more cities later in 2013. www.vodafone.co.uk/4G.