LONDON: Arsenal appear to be heading for a boardroom civil war prompted by Robin Van Persie’s declaration of ultimate departure.
Red & White Securities Limited, controlled by Usbek oil magnate Alisher Usmanov and Farhad Moshiri, hold around 30pc of shares in the Gunners’ parent company, which was the subject of a takeover in 2011 by American tycoon Stan Kroenke.
In an uncompromising open letter to the board, RWS has expressed “deep reservations” over the direction of the club now that yet another leading player appears on the route out.
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 letter will strike a chord with fans who are growing increasingly impatient and irritated at the club’s failure to win a prize in six years.
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.”
Club captain Van Persie, in a statement on his official website on Wednesday, said that he would not be extending his current contract which expires next summer. RWS considers the situation inconceivable after the departures last summer of Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona and playmaker Samir Nasri to Manchester City.
RWS continued: “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.
“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
“You can try and put a good face on a bad game for as long as you want, pontificating about the merits of this model, but it will not hide the obvious fact that it just does not allow our great manager to fully realise his managerial talent and deliver success for the fans who are paying the highest prices in the land.
“It appears that a place in the Champions League will be the pinnacle of our ambition again next season. Unfortunately, in the future we may see this ambition lowered further.”
Van Persie scored 37 goals in all competitions last season for Arsenal whose manager Arsene Wenger has signed both Germany striker Lukas Podolski and France forward Olivier Giroud.
= = = =