Let the Emirates Stadium in-fighting begin.
Alisher Usmanov criticises Arsenal board over ‘lack of investment’
Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov has criticised the running of the club after Robin van Persie announced he would not be renewing his contract.
The Uzbek billionaire has sent a strongly worded letter to the board accusing them of a lack of investment.
“Yet again we are faced with losing our true marquee player because we cannot give confidence we can win trophies,” he writes.
“Where are the safeguards to ensure this doesn’t happen again?”
Usmanov’s Red and White Holding company has a 29% stake in Arsenal. American businessman Stan Kroenke, 64, is the Premier League club’s majority shareholder, owning 63% of the club.
SOURCE: BBC Sport
This is all very timely. Almost as though Mr. Usmanov was at the ready to release this statement the moment the Robin Van Persie situation reached this rather predictable impasse.
Arsenal fans will of course be sickened by the very real likelihood that yet another high-profile player has opted to leave but that said it probably isn’t the best of times to conduct a boardroom civil war and clearly some will be looking to make the most of the timing of Van Persie’s statement for their own ends.
That said there are some elements of Usmanov’s statement that are spot on and probably the subject of numerous conversations in workplaces and pubs across North London.
“As a top club we should, at the very least, match if not beat the offers that other clubs make to try and lure our very best players away and provide a more compelling vision for the future.”
A very salient point. People should not lose sight of the fact that Arsenal are one of the richest football clubs in Europe and whilst this is of course down to the effective financial running of the club it’s also a sign of a club that appears to be designed to simply make money as opposed to achieving and meeting ambitions on the field of play.
Perhaps the most telling, and accurate, portion of the letter sent to the board is as follows.
“As a consequence of this policy, which is dressed up as prudent financial planning, it is down to our manager and not the shareholders, to have to deal with the club’s tight finances, carry the burden of repaying the stadium debt by selling his best players and having to continue to find cheaper replacements.
This policy is leading to the loss of our best players, often to main competitors, and even causes the players themselves to question their future at the club and the club’s ambitions.
The situation with Robin van Persie sums this up.”
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