Football

Usmanov: Henry wants me to buy Arsenal

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Uzbek billionaire Alisher Usmanov, Arsenal's second largest shareholder, has revealed Gunners legend Thierry Henry wants him to buy a controlling stake in the club.

Usmanov has been involved with Arsenal since 2007 and, in 2011, took his share holding in the club to 29.9 percent, although American businessman Stan Kroenke owns over 62 percent.

But, although Usmanov is unable to get his foot through the Arsenal door, he claims to have a potentially pivotal card to play when it comes to the support of the club's greatest ever player.

Usmanov, 59, says he is in frequent contact with Henry - who has recently been training with Arsenal - and has been urged by the New York Red Bulls striker to up his stake in the Gunners.

"I like many footballers, and I'm in contact with some of them. Perhaps my favourite of the last 10, 15 years is Thierry Henry. He's pushing me to buy all of Arsenal's shares, but I cannot predict the future," Usmanov told L'Equipe.

Usmanov, meanwhile, has criticised the Arsenal's willingness to sell their top players and aid the ambitions of their nearest rivals; citing the exit of Robin van Persie as a particularly dark moment.

He claims that, instead, Wenger should be given significant funds to strengthen Arsenal with 'superstars' and transform the club into serious title contenders once again.

"The greatest achievement of Arsene Wenger is to have created two teams: the one that now plays for our rivals and the one that is trying to be among the best in the Premier League," Usmanov added.

"That's why I say it's not enough to merely flatter the coach but to give him the possibility to buy the best players, superstars. But not just stars but those chosen by Wenger.

"It's unthinkable that the shareholders get well-paid while, for small clauses in contracts, we lose key players, symbols like Robin van Persie, Mathieu Flamini or Patrick Vieira.

"We should have increased their salaries when they started to be courted, started to look elsewhere. I don't know why we didn't propose that to them."

Topics:
Arsenal
Football
Premier League
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