Usmanov criticises Arsenal board
The second largest shareholder in Arsenal, Alisher Usmanov, has set out a wide-ranging critique of the strategy of the club's board after the news that Robin van Persie will not be negotiating an extension of his contract.
In his statement Usmanov seeks to establish himself as the supporters' friend, drawing a contrast between the expectations of supporters and what he sees as the limited vision of the board. He calls for a club to engage in a level of investment comparable to that made by Chelsea, Manchester City and Real Madrid, arguing that its ambition has to go beyond qualifying for the Champions League.
The strategy of the Arsenal board has always been based on the assumption that clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City will eventually be reined back by Uefa's financial fair play regulations, but that assumes that these will be properly enforced and not overturned by a legal challenge. The loss of van Persie may lead some Arsenal fans to lose patience, but there is little that they or Usmanov can do to get the board to change course.