Thursday, July 05, 2012


Arsenal are threatening to head into meltdown after co - owner Alisher Usmanov launched an attack on the club.

After being hit by Robin van Persie's refusal to sign a new contract, the Gunners hierarchy have now been questioned in an open letter from Red & White Holdings - which is fronted by Russian billionaire Usmanov.

It turns up the heat on owner Stan Kroenke as the club battles to stay among the Barclays Premier League's elite.

Arsenal's second-biggest shareholders have written to Kroenke expressing 'deep reservations' about how the American is running the club.

Usmanov and Farhad Moshiri claim that a 'tight' financial regime is leading to manager Arsene Wenger selling his best players and 'having to continue to find cheaper replacements.'

They complain that 'we are faced with losing our true marquee player' because we cannot 'give confidence that we can win trophies,' asking 'where are the safeguards to ensure that this doesn't happen again and again?'

The pair own just under 30 per cent of Arsenal through investment company Red & White but haven't been allowed on the board  by Kroenke.

Red & White feel Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis has given the impression there is a 'bitter stand-off' between themselves and the hierarchy.

The letter continued: 'In our view it is clear you are trying to distract attention from the more fundamental issues facing the club.

These are the financial model, the lack of investment and club's future strategic direction.
'At the heart of this is the policy of so-called self-financing.

'The previous decision by the board to fund the building of the Emirates Stadium with long-term debt was, we believe, certainly not about self-financing.'

Red & White, who point out they have 'invested circa £200million of cash', set out their 'vision' for Arsenal.

The letter added: 'It is simple. A debt free club, with a big enough war chest to buy top talent players who can hit the ground running and who can complement the club's long tradition of developing young players and homegrown talent.

'Together they can help the club win the most prestigious trophies - because it is the trophies which are the crowning achievement for everybody at the club.'

Red & White closed their letter by wishing Kroenke 'every success', although stressing they have 'deep reservations about the viability of the policies being pursued by his management team and sanctioned by the board'.

The letter concluded: 'Finally and reflecting our long-term commitment to the club, we will continue to purchase more shares in the club from anyone who wants to sell them to us.

'Also in order to formalise our long-term involvement with the club and put an end to any speculation over our position, we, as the co-owners of Red & White, will proudly retain our holding in the club as a long-term investment for ourselves and our family members to benefit for generations to come.

'We want the absolute best for the club and will do what is necessary to ensure the success of the club that we all love.'
Arsenal will take time reviewing statements in the open letter before deciding whether to make any official response.

However, it is understood the Gunners board and management team are all very committed to the current direction, with a firm belief that the self-funding model will bring long-term success, both on and off the pitch.

The claims by RWS follow on from the announcement by Van Persie, in a carefully worded statement on his official website, that he would not be extending his current deal, which runs out next summer.

The 28-year-old netted 37 goals in all competitions as Arsenal eventually secured third place, and manager Arsene Wenger recently declared the club must retain their talisman 'at all costs'.

However, despite meeting with Wenger and chief executive Gazidis at the end of last season and the signings of Germany striker Lukas Podolski as well as France forward Olivier Giroud, Van Persie remains unconvinced he can fulfil his ambitions with the club he joined as a raw talent from Feyenoord in May 2004.

Van Persie will turn 29 in August, and the next contract he agrees could well be his last at the highest level.

Courtesy of DAILYMAIL.

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