Wenger not worried by boardroom battle

Arsene Wenger has declared he does not need outside investment to compete with his bigger-spending rivals as he closes in on agreeing a new contract.

Arsene Wenger has declared he does not need outside investment to compete with his bigger-spending rivals as he closes in on agreeing a new contract.

The Emirates Stadium looks set to be the centre of a boardroom power struggle after former vice chairman David Dein sold his 14.58% stake in the club for £75million to Red and White.

Dein has been named chairman of Red and White, which is jointly owned by Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov and Farhad Moshiri, and has indicated he will seek to further increase the company’s stake.

The prospect of Usmanov bankrolling a takeover at Arsenal and pumping his fortune – estimated to be £4billion accumulated from the steel industry – into the club will thrill Gunners fans.

But Wenger, who will announce the outcome of contract negotiations next week, has consistently maintained his failure to spend big is down to a dearth of available talent rather than a lack of finance.

Manchester United and Chelsea have outlayed large sums on big-name signings but Wenger would rather make Arsenal competitive by developing young talent.

“If I want to buy a player today then I have money available,” he said.

“Maybe I’ll need money in four, five or six years but that will depend on how much money the other clubs have and what the average salary is.

“Nobody knows for how much longer people will continue to pump £40, £50 or £100million into football every year without natural resources and any dividends being paid back.

“I believe I can compete and be successful because I have a team that can win the Premiership and do well in the Champions League. That’s why I’m here.

“There are many ways to work in the game. We buy good players when they come onto the market, but generally we have gone for a different solution and we will continue to do that.

“I’m not saying other clubs have got it wrong. Instead we’re doing it our way and are happy with that. It’s my decision to take this route.

“A club needs to work with its natural resources. You can’t have a policy where someone pumps £50million or £100million into the club.

“Self-sufficiency should be any club’s target, to work within your natural resources.”

Wenger insists any impending boardroom upheaval does not concern him as long as his role remains unchanged and revealed an announcement over his contract negotiations is imminent.

“I’m an employee of Arsenal who tries to pay back the club for the faith they have in me by bringing good results and success,” he said.

“What is happening (in the boardroom) is nothing to do with me.

“What concerns me is that I can work like I feel I want to work. Any company has to work like that.

“If the players say who we have to buy and if I say who has to buy the shares, it cannot work. I’m here as an employee and that’s what I am.

“What I’m thinking when I’m negotiating the contract is whether I have the freedom to work like I want to work.

“I always had that with David Dein and, since David has gone, I still have that.

“That is, for me, the most important thing. There will be news on the contract next week.”

Winger Alexander Hleb is unavailable for Sunday’s Barclays Premier League clash with Portsmouth through illness.

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