Usmanov wants full control of Arsenal but backs Wenger
Uzbek businessman says he will buy out Stan Kroenke and says selling RVP was a 'mistake'
ARSENAL'S boardroom troubles look set to continue after minority shareholder Alisher Usmanov renewed his attack on the club's current owners and said it remained his "dream" to have total control of the Gunners
The Uzbek billionaire, who owns 29.9 per cent of the club through his company Red & White Holdings, also said that selling Robin van Persie to arch rivals Manchester United in the summer was a "mistake", but backed under-fire boss Arsene Wenger.
Usmanov, who is said to be the richest man in Russia with a fortune of $18bn, made the comments in an interview with CNBC in Moscow today. He insisted that if he did take control of the club he would not interfere with the playing side of the business, but reiterated earlier promises that he would make funds available for new players.
Speaking in what the Daily Mail described as "broken English", Usmanov said: "I never interfere with things over which I have no control, this question [of 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."
He also said he was surprised by reports that Wenger did not want him to have a seat on the Arsenal board. But he described the Frenchman as "one of the best coaches in the world".
The oligarch also hinted that there were some parts of the business he was not impressed by and would take an active interest in. "If I have big stake in Arsenal of course I have my opinion what we must do," he said. "In the commercial side there are many questions over the effectiveness of commercial side of Arsenal."
Usmanov is said to be "locked in a battle" with current Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke who will not talk to him about the way the club is run and has denied him a seat on the board. "I have to say that it is very hard to understand and it rankles me that the current board doesn't want a person who is a 30 per cent investor to be on that board. We just don't understand that strategy," he said.
But the Uzbek went on to claim he did not want a seat anyway. "I have to tell you I don't want to be a member of the board as it is now," he said.
He also reiterated his desire to take full control of the Gunners and buy Kroenke's share. "We will wait and maybe when I wake up some day I have this Arsenal club," he said.