• Premier League

Usmanov fears politics could damage Arsenal

ESPN staff
August 6, 2012
Alisher Usmanov is concerned at boardroom politics at Arsenal © Getty Images

Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov has cast doubt over the future of the club, predicting "politics of the club's management" will slowly decrease the Gunners' chances of silverware.

Usmanov has been a vocal critic of the way parts of Arsenal Football Club are being run, even writing an open letter to owner Stan Kroenke at the start of July to express his concern at the fact Robin van Persie does not want to sign a new contract.

The club's second-biggest shareholder, behind Kroenke, shares the concerns of the club's fans over the current trophy drought, which stretches back to 2005. In recent times major names such as Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri have left in their peak years, and Van Persie appears set to follow suit.

Usmanov insists he only wants what is best for the club, which is why he has expressed his fear over what he perceives as boardroom in-fighting. The Uzbek claims Arsene Wenger's current toils in the transfer market are a result of a lack of harmony behind the scenes.

"We do not consider just qualifying for the Champions League to be the chief ambition of the club, and with all our hearts we support the team and wish them well for the new season," Usmanov said in Forbes Magazine's Russian edition.

"I am a fan and I am not going to sell these shares at any time, since this is the club that I consider the best in the world.

"Victory is absolutely not ruled out, but the current politics of the club's management will leave Arsene Wenger and his team with fewer and fewer opportunities in the long run."

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