You let the fans down selling Van Persie! Usmanov launches fresh attack on Arsenal
08:57 GMT, 20 December 2012
Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov says Arsenal made a mistake in selling Robin van Persie to Premier League rivals Manchester United.
The oligarch, who has accumulated an 18billion fortune and is believed to be one of Russia's richest men, says it is still his dream to own Arsenal.
And in a rare television interview, the 59-year-old, who already owns a 30 per cent stake in the club but has no seat on the board, gave his full backing to under-fire boss Wenger, who has been fighting calls from fans to quit.
Hitting out: Alisher Usmanov has once again criticised the way Arsenal is run
Usmanov, who earned his fortune in
mining, lumber and business investments and is believed to be
significantly wealthier than Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, said the
Arsenal boss has not had enough support in recent years to keep up with
Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea.
Speaking in broken English, Usmanov
told CNBC in Moscow this morning : 'First I did not hear the claims that
Arsene Wenger was against me and the board, and I am surprised about
'Second I always tell Mr Wenger he is
one of the best coaches and football managers in the world but I openly
admit he has many, many difficulties to contend with.
'Today less, but over the last five
years he has not had enough support to provide his conceptions of his
game in Arsenal from the board, either for transfers or for keeping
Usmanov was asked if he would have
done more to keep van Persie who joined United in a 24million deal in
the summer, despite Wenger’s attempts to keep the Dutch striker.
Dutch despair: Usmanov attacked Robin van Persie's sale to Manchester United
The Soviet-born businessman said:
'This decision (losing Van Persie) was a mistake. If I am one of
Wenger’s players I would want to stay for the finish, but he explained
Robin want to go to win trophies.
Asked about his influence in the
transfer window, Usmanov said: 'I never interfere with things over which
I have no control, this question (about buying players) is for Wenger.
'I never ever give instruction to chief executive of my plans I only ask you need my help or not.'
Usmanov also said Arsenal had not made enough capital from its commercial wing and he questioned the operation at the Emirates.
Slump: Arsenal have endured a difficult season so far, summed up by the humiliating Capital One Cup defeat to League Two Bradford
He added: 'If I have big stake in
Arsenal of course I have my opinion what we must do, for example in the
commercial side there are many questions over the effectiveness of
commercial side of Arsenal today. But we will see we will wait and may
be when I wake up some day I have this Arsenal club.
'The cycle of big money might change
tomorrow in football. Everything has a limit, and this cycle of
development (rising wages and transfer fees) may come down.'