Writer: Tim Stillman
Date:Friday September 28 2012
Major shareholder Alisher Usmanov has declared that Arsenal must stop selling their best players if they are to challenge the Manchester hegemony at the top of the Premier League.
Usmanov, whose red and white holdings company own around 30% of the club, said, ''Nobody can convince fans that the club is doing fine if for the past three or four years the club has been selling its best players.It doesn't matter who our extremely talented coach, Arsene Wenger, buys to plug these holes if we want to win trophies.'
Usmanov however, re-declared his admiration of Arsene Wenger, 'I'm an absolute fan of Arsene Wenger,' Usmanov said. 'I support him and I'm confident in him. We think he's a hero.
'Despite changes in the playing lineup, he keeps the variations of the same beautiful game.'
Red and White publicly posted an open letter to the current Arsenal board in the summer, criticising them for the sale of Robin van Persie to rivals Manchester United. But Usmanov maintains it was not an act of war on his part.
'Arsenal received our letter,' said Usmanov. 'We didn't mean it as a hostile message or a declaration of war.'
'We are tired of being accused of fighting for a place on the board,' he said. 'We have never in our lives asked for this place.'
'I never say we need to spend enormous money for any players but we must have capacity. 'The season is beginning - we must close this discussion and support the club, coach and players
Usmanov also described himself as 'a fan that has participation as a shareholder' adding he has no intention of selling any of his holding because ''if you sell what you love you lose yourself'.
'For now, we stay in Arsenal as shareholders as long as we don't lose our love for this club. Now we wish it support and great victory.'
Date:Friday September 28 2012
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