Wenger concentrates on team affairs

Manager Arsene Wenger maintains he has no intention of “going beyond my role” and becoming embroiled in any boardroom power struggle at Arsenal.

Manager Arsene Wenger maintains he has no intention of “going beyond my role” and becoming embroiled in any boardroom power struggle at Arsenal.

American billionaire Stan Kroenke currently owns just over 12% of the Gunners’ parent company after his initial purchase of ITV’s holding earlier this year.

While there has been no official comment from the reclusive entrepreneur, speculation continues that Kroenke Sports Enterprises are keen to increase their financial involvement in the Barclays Premier League club.

The Arsenal board have recently softened their stance towards the US investor, with both chairman Peter Hill-Wood and managing director Keith Edelman having now met with Kroenke, who is said to be “bullish” at the prospect of further talks.

Rumours, however, the Gunners are poised to be the next English club set for a big-money US takeover show little sign of dissipating – prompting Arsenal’s biggest shareholder Danny Fiszman to once again insist he has “no intention” of selling his 24.11% stake in the club.

Wenger, though, maintains his focus will remain on team affairs, rather than what may or may not happen behind the scenes.

“It’s important that I don’t go beyond my role, that I recognise my place as manager,” said the Frenchman ahead of this weekend’s Emirates Cup.

“At the moment, we have a very special mentality at this club linked to certain people.

“It is important that I concentrate on what is my role. The players and myself are focused on what we want to achieve together.”

Wenger added: “I stay in my role. I don’t have to take part in the financial sphere.

“I’m focusing on the football that the club’s playing.”

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has also been linked with an investment bid, while the intentions of former vice-chairman David Dein remain unconfirmed.

Dein may have left the club because of “irreconcilable differences” with the rest of the current board in April – understood to be over the involvement of Kroenke – but he still holds a significant amount of stock, around 14%, estimated to be worth in the region of £57million.

Add that to the KSE shares and suddenly the American-backed company would be close to the 30% threshold which, under the Stock Exchange rules, would see them obliged to launch a takeover bid for the remaining holding.

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