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“I love Arsenal like a man loves a woman” claims Russian shareholder

Unless you’ve been living in an underground bunker for the past few weeks, there is something of a financial crisis taking place all over the world at the moment. Share prices have been sinking quicker than the Titanic, and the footballing world has certainly not been immune to the global meltdown, with the Russian oligarchs at Chelsea and Arsenal both feeling the pinch.

The Guardian reports that Roman Abramovich has lost nearly £12 billion in the past five months, while Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov has also lost £6.7 billion after the Russian stock market fell 62% since May. However, the latter has maintained that he is hopelessly devoted to Arsenal, and actually wants to increase his stake in the club to 25%.

Usmanov said it was “inconceivable” that he would sell his 24% holding in Arsenal. He declared he wanted to increase his stake to 25% – an “objective” that he said he announced last year.

“When a man loves a woman he can’t conceivably sell that love. I’m in love with Arsenal. I have no intention of selling it [my stake],” he told the Guardian yesterday.

He added: “That may be possible at some point in time when I know that Arsenal hates me. I will make sure this doesn’t happen. I have not lost one single share.”

He added: “As long as Arsène Wenger is manager that’s not going to happen.”

Arsenal fans, are you bouyed by the news that Usmanov remains committed to the club? Unlike Chelsea, the Gunners have a number of shareholders, meaning that someone pulling out would not cause tremors to anything like the degree you would get if Abramovich decided he’d had enough of bankrolling the west London club. Nevertheless, there is sure to be plenty of belt-tightening in the months ahead, with nobody quite sure how long the financial crisis will last.

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