Usmanov slams Kroenke over Van Persie

Arsenal's second-largest shareholder Alisher Usmanov says he has "deep reservations" about the direction the club is going in following the news that Robin van Persie will not extend his contract.


Van Persie released a statement on Wednesday which blamed a lack of both ambition and trophies for his decision not to sign a new contract, with the striker immediately linked with a move to Premier League champions Manchester City.

Though Arsenal remain adamant they will not allow Van Persie to leave, the captain's decision to make public his discontent has led to renewed scrutiny of the club's inability to hold onto their best players following the sales of Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas last summer.

The debate has now spilled into the halls of power at Emirates Stadium with Usmanov reacting to Van Persie's decision by publicly criticising Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke for the way he is running the club.

Usmanov and Red & White partner Farhad Moshiri, who own just under 30 per cent of the club, have said in an open letter that the current regime's "tight finances" means Wenger is forced into "selling his best players and having to continue to find cheaper replacements. All of that, naturally, comes at the expense of performance on the pitch.

"This policy is leading to the loss of our best players, often to our main competitors, and even causes the players themselves to question their future at the club and the club's ambitions.

"The situation with our captain and outstanding performer from last season Robin van Persie sums this up. Yet again we are faced with losing our true marquee player at the club because we cannot assure him of the future direction and given confidence that we can win trophies.

"Where are the safeguards to ensure that this doesn't happen again and again in the future? As a top club we should, at the very least, match if not beat the offers that other clubs make to try and lure our very best players away, and also provide a more compelling vision of the future."

The letter continued: "You can try and put a good face on a bad game for as long as you want, pontificating about the merits of this model, but it will not hide the obvious fact that it just does not allow our great manager to fully realise his managerial talent and deliver success for the fans who are paying the highest prices in the land.

"It appears that a place in the Champions League will be the pinnacle of our ambition again next season. Unfortunately, in the future we may see this ambition lowered further."

The Uzbek billionaire has been denied a place on Arsenal's board by Kroenke but has repeatedly stated his desire to inject money into the club.

Thursday's letter states Red & White are keen to buy further shares in Arsenal and outlines their vision for a "debt free club, with a big enough war chest to buy top talent players".

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