Shareholders question Gunners’ direction

Arsenal’s second-largest shareholders have vowed to continue to “do what is necessary” to make sure the club matches the ambitions “marquee players” to retain talents like wantaway captain Robin van Persie.

Red & White Securities Limited, fronted by Usek oil magnate Alisher Usmanov and Farhad Moshiri, hold around 30% of shares in the Gunners’ parent company, which was the subject of a takeover in 2011 by American tycoon Stan Kroenke.

In a hard-hitting open letter to the board, RWS expressed “deep reservations” over the direction of the club, which once again looks set to see their leading player leave.

Usmanov, who does not have representation on the board, insists RWS will continue the acquisition of stock — which currently is trading around a £17,000-high per share — and maintained pressure would also be brought to try to drive the club towards being able to deliver sustained success on the pitch once again.

The open letter read: “We want the absolute best for the club and will do what is necessary to ensure the success of the club that we all love.

“We wish the majority shareholder Mr Kroenke every success in running the club, even though we have deep reservations about the viability of the policies being pursued by his management team and sanctioned by the board.

“So what is Red & White’s vision for the club? It is simple. A debt free club, with a big enough war chest to buy top talent players who can hit the ground running and who can complement the club’s long tradition of developing young players and homegrown talent.

“Together they can help the club win the most prestigious trophies — because it is the trophies which are the crowning achievement for everybody at the club.”

Arsenal will take time reviewing statements of the open letter before deciding whether to make any official response. However, it is understood the Gunners board and management team are committed to the current direction, with a firm belief that the self-funding model will bring long-term success.

Yesterday’s claims by RWS follow the announcement by van Persie, in a statement on his official website, that he would not be extending his current deal, which runs out next summer.

RWS maintain it is a situation which should never have been allowed to transpire, as it did last summer with the sale of playmaker Samir Nasri to Manchester City.

“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,” the letter continued.

“Yet again we are faced with losing our true marquee player at the club because we cannot assure him of the future direction and give 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.’’

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox