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Usmanov: 'Henry 'Pushing Me' To Buy Arsenal'

Usmanov: 'Henry 'Pushing Me' To Buy Arsenal'

Uzbeki steel magnate and Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov has claimed that ex Arsenal striker Thierry Henry is backing him to take the club over. For some time, Usmanov has been buying up shares with the ultimate aim of holding a controlling share in Arsenal, but his 30% stake is comfortable gazumped by majority owner Stan Kroenke, who owns 2/3 of the club`s shareholding outright.

In an interview with L`Equipe, Usmanov claimed frustration that he has been portrayed as "a pirate" by Arsenal`s current ownership, but that he had an Arsenal legend in his corner. "'I like many footballers, and I'm in contact with some of them. Perhaps my favourite of the last ten, 15 years is Thierry Henry. He's pushing me to buy all of Arsenal's shares, but I cannot predict the future,' the Uzbek-born billionaire told L`Equipe.


'When I had the chance to buy some shares and become one of the main shareholders in the club, I didn't hesitate for a second. I was even ready to take total control. That wasn't possible because certain people preferred to make a profit and create, using me, an outside enemy. I remain portrayed as a pirate, an enemy. They have won that game.'

Usmanov went on to claim that Arsene Wenger is being handicapped by the current owner, "For me, he's one of the best coaches in the world, but it's not easy for him,' Usmanov said. 'I think he deserves that players are brought in at Arsenal when they're needed.


'The best players, and not being satisfied with selling our best players to our rivals. If that happens, we can ask everything of him. But, today, he's sacrificed. Because of the policy, and we're all to blame. Everything's in Mr Kroenke's hands, and I hope he succeeds, even if he doesn't go along with my ideas.'


He added: 'The greatest achievement of Arsene Wenger is to have created two teams: the one that now plays for our rivals, and the one that is trying to be among the best in the Premier League.


'That's why I say it's not enough to merely flatter the coach, but to give him the possibility to buy the best players, superstars. But not just stars, but those chosen by Wenger. It's unthinkable that the shareholders get well-paid while, for small clauses in contracts, we lose key players, symbols like Robin van Persie, Mathieu Flamini or Patrick Vieira. We should have increased their salaries when they started to be courted, started to look elsewhere. I don't know why we didn't propose that to them.'

He finished by suggesting his interest in Arsenal was an emotional one rather than dictated by finance, a connection he says was forged by the Arsenal side of the late 90s, 'In my opinion, that team was as good as the current Barcelona side,' Usmanov said. 'It wasn't a question of money or prestige. It's a choice [to invest in the club] dictated by my emotions, those provoked in me by the club. And Arsenal's current situation remains an interesting investment.


'I would like to be useful for the club, and I can be. I understand football well, and can prove it, but I'll never force myself on anyone. For the moment, Arsenal don't seem to need me. But I remain convinced that Arsenal should have only one aim in every competition: first place and winning.


'All other theories are hypocrisy aimed at covering up weakness. I'm a strong man. If someone needs my help, my money, my know-how, anything I possess, I'm always ready.'



Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Tim Stillman
Date:Monday January 28 2013
Time: 11:03AM

Comments

0
Well that's an interesting sounbite. Though one that is transpartntly trying to butter the fans up. I don't know whether he genuinely wants to help the club or just to make a quick buck (remember his comments a couple of years ago about wanting to make good money from Arsenal?), but he's a ghastly human being. I wouldn't want him near my club.
Rocky7
28/01/2013 11:32:00
0
Rocky7 - agree he's tryng to butter the fans up. Using Henry's name, trying to give the impression that he wants to throw money at the club without actually saying so, talking about an emotional connection... To me, the most worrying thing about this man is how desperately he wants control of Arsenal. This statement is full of the usual lies and half-truths. And the board don't portray him as anything - he talks a lot more about them than they do about him, and at least they have never been uncivil in public statements - unlike Usmanov. Oh, yeah, and if he's been a fan from the 1990s, how come he couldn't name any of the Invincibles team to journalists he was wining and dining?
FunGunner
28/01/2013 11:52:00
0
Isn't this just a reworking of the L'Equipe interview a couple of months back when he said that Henry should have a role in the club along the lines of Vieira's at City? In any case it's an appeal to the stupid. So the club should match the wages that City are paying should they? But presumably only if they're prepared to borrow money from the shareholders but not the shareholders that got paid well as they're no longer shareholders. He knows football well he claims but the 1998 side was not only better than the 2002 or 2004 Arsenal sides but better than the current Barca side? He knows football well but thinks we lost Vieira because of salary differences? He's a deluded fantasist. He's right about one thing though - the club doesn't need him.
Amos.
28/01/2013 12:07:00
0
He's also right though in Wenger's achievement of having created 2 teams. Our current one and the one now playing for our varied rivals.
Wyn Mills
28/01/2013 14:11:00
0
Were ManU really created by RVP? Did they really have nothing else going for them apart from the one player they bought from us? Were Chavs made by Cole. Would City really be dramatically weaker without Clichy, Nasri and Toure? Typically superficial Usmanov comment intended to take in the gullible.
Amos.
28/01/2013 14:38:00
0
I think the point being made was that if you put together the players we've sold over the past 4-5 years they would constitute a pretty decent team.
Wyn Mills
28/01/2013 14:57:00
0
The same applies to players we've bought from other clubs too! Nasri wasn't exactly created by Wenger was he. It's a silly sound bite point that doesn't stand scrutiny.
Amos.
28/01/2013 15:12:00
0
So you disagree with the view that Wenger has had to virtually create a second team in the time he would have hoped to be bearing the fruits of the first?
Wyn Mills
28/01/2013 15:16:00
0
*benefiting from*
Wyn Mills
28/01/2013 15:17:00
0
I think Wenger has had to create several teams in his time as manager as have our rivals. It's true we've been stripped by the predatory nature of football primarily post Abramovich/Mansour and changes in player contract law but don't expect guidance from Usmanov as to how to cope with those changes and the changes to come. He just wants to play in the billionaire's casino using AFC as his chips.
Amos.
28/01/2013 15:30:00
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