David Dein has warned the Arsenal hierarchy they risk being overtaken in the Premier League pecking order unless they allow Alisher Usmanov to seize control.
The Uzbekistani billionaire currently owns a quarter of the club’s shares but would like to launch a full takeover through his company Red and White Holdings - which is fronted by Dein, the former Gunners chairman who has a frosty relationship with the board at Emirates Stadium.
The north Londoners’ financial clout has been called into question this summer following the departure of Mathieu Flamini to AC Milan – with wages allegedly a major factor in his exit – while key players Alexander Hleb and Emmanuel Adebayor also look odds-on to leave.
Dein claims the recent upheaval could be a sign of things to come unless the Gunners board entertain a takeover from a super-rich investor, and insists it is the only way manager Arsene Wenger can be given the opportunity to succeed.
“Luckily, they have Arsene but you have to give the man a chance,” Dein said.
“I don’t want to see Arsenal as the second or even third team in London.
“I can see the way the game is going. The wealthier are going to get wealthier and more successful. It is getting polarised.”
Of Usmanov, he added: “He would change the whole dynamic of the club. At Arsenal, something has to break.”