Arsenal in turmoil after major shareholder blames owners for Van Persie exit

London: Uzbek billionaire Alisher Usmanov, who owns nearly thirty per cent of the English Premier club Arsenal, has criticized owner Stan Kroenke, CEO Ivan Gazidis and the rest of the board for failing to convince captain Robin Van Persie to stay on at the club.

In an open letter, Usmanov accused Kroenke, who has a 63 per cent stake in the club, and the board of discouraging manager Arsene Wenger by sticking to a policy that has effectively forced Van Persie out.

The Dutchman, who has a year left on his current contract, has announced on Twitter that he will not sign a new deal.

“Yet again, we are faced with losing our true marquee player because we cannot assure him of the future direction and give confidence we can win trophies. Where are the safeguards to ensure this doesn’t happen again and again in the future?” a newspaper quoted Usmanov, as saying

“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. It appears a place in the Champions League is the pinnacle of our ambition again next season. In the future we may see this ambition lowered further,” he added.

“As a consequence of the policy it is down to the manager, not the shareholders, to have to deal with the tight finances by selling his best players and finding cheaper replacements,” he said.

He further said: “All that, naturally, comes at the expense of performance on the pitch. It does not allow our great manager to fully realise his talent and deliver success for the fans that are paying the highest prices in the land.”

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