Thierry Henry wants me to buy Arsenal, says Alisher Usmanov
Uzbek shareholder claims he has backing of iconic striker and pokes fun at Arsene Wenger
ARSENAL shareholder Alisher Usmanov has renewed his attacks on the current regime at the Emirates, and has claimed that Gunners legend Thierry Henry is backing his efforts to wrest control of the club from American Stan Kroenke.
The Uzbek oligarch, who owns 29.95 per cent of Arsenal, has been denied a seat on the board and has a frosty relationship with Kroenke. Usmanov now appears to be using the media to get his message across to disgruntled fans, and took another swipe at the club's owners and transfer policy in an interview with French newspaper L'Equipe.
His most eyecatching claim was that Thierry Henry, the club's record scorer who still has strong links with Arsenal, wants him to take over.
"I like many footballers, and I'm in contact with some of them. Perhaps my favourite of the last ten [or] 15 years is Thierry Henry," he announced, according to the Daily Telegraph. "He's pushing me to buy all of Arsenal's shares, but I cannot predict the future."
He also told the French paper that he was fed up with being portrayed as a "pirate". He said he had been marginalised by "certain people preferring to make a profit and create, using me, an outside enemy".
The Uzbek has made it clear that if he was in charge he would provide money for big-name transfers, a policy that the current board, which favours self-sufficiency, has rejected.
In his latest salvo the oligarch once again insisted that he had faith in Arsene Wenger but also made a joke at his expense.
"The greatest achievement of Arsene Wenger is to have created two teams," he said. "The one that now plays for our rivals and the one that is trying to be among the best in the League."
That was a reference to Robin van Persie, Samir Nasri, Emmanuel Adebayor and others who have all left Arsenal to play for other Premier League teams in recent years.
Despite his comments, the London Evening Standard says "any further involvement from Usmanov appears highly unlikely," and describes his takeover bid as "improbable".