Alisher Usmanov has surprised nobody by once again making public his disagreement with the Arsenal board.
As the team arrive in Germany for a training camp, culminating in a friendly with FC Koln on Sunday evening, the Uzbeki has told Forbes that he believes the club are not being run properly and thus less likely to challenge for honours.
“Disregarding the series of trophyless seasons, you have to accept that a few of the current board of directors were at the helm during the greatest moments of the Arsene Wenger era,” he said.
“But the footballing landscape has changed. Our point of view on which direction the club is going today, and our disagreement with this direction, have been laid out in our open letter to the board.
“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.
“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.”
Which all sounds lovely, as he fully intends it to, but he rather overplays his hand when talking about the Champions League being the chief ambition of the club. Use of an obvious straw-man to boost his side of the argument is page 2 in ‘Arguing for Dummies’, nobody has ever said that is the club’s chief ambition. And while declarations of love are all well and good, when they’re expressed not long before the start of the new season you have to question the need for him to repeat what he just said a few weeks ago.
Perhaps the renewed optimism amongst the support has sparked his new statements. Fans have been encouraged by the signings of Podolski and Giroud and anxiously await the confirmation of the signing of Spanish international Santi Cazorla (any time you’re ready, Arsenal, cheers). With talk of further additions such as Nuri Sahin on loan from Real Madrid, it signals something of a change in the way we’ve done business in the past.
For once more money is being spent than taken in on transfers. Usmanov might wish to take some credit, he might say without his pressure such a decisive summer might not have taken place, but either way the club look to be doing what fans have wanted and are investing money directly into the team.
Usmanov has vowed to purchase more shares, saying, “We plan to continue to buy shares in the club. From the point of view of investment, this has already been a successful policy: the value of the club has risen from £300-400million to £700-800million.
“But this is not the point. 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.”
It is clear that the billionaire has no desire, nor any need, to sell his Arsenal shares, so, given the impasse between he and Kroenke, the best we can hope is that, as a fan, he is appeased by a successful Arsenal team.