Alisher Usmanov: Arsenal just one man short

Published Add your comment

Arsenal are just one player short of being ready to dominate Europe, according to shareholder Alisher Usmanov.

The Gunners beat Chelsea to win the FA Community Shield at Wembley last weekend and will begin their challenge for the 2015/16 Barclays Premier League at home to West Ham on Sunday.

Manager Arsene Wenger moved to strengthen the squad with the £10 million summer addition of veteran goalkeeper Petr Cech, and Arsenal continue to be linked with a big-money bid for Real Madrid's France international forward Karim Benzema.


Do you have what it takes? Sign up today and send over your 250 word test article:

Article continues below

Usmanov, whose Red & White Holdings group own just over 30 per cent of the club's parent company, believes should Wenger bring in another top target, after which he would then have assembled a squad capable of challenging the best across Europe.

"If there aren't (any) severe injuries, he's got a great chance to compete with teams like Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City. The championship will be decided between these four teams," Usmanov said in an interview with CNN.

Article continues below

"With the team that Arsene has put together, except for one position, I think it's a club that's ready to successfully fight for European cups."

While Real Madrid coach Rafa Benitez intends to keep Benzema as part of his plans for next season, it appears the 27-year-old - who did not travel with the Spanish side to the Audi Cup in Munich - looks set to be on the periphery of the team led by Cristiano Ronaldo and Wales forward Gareth Bale.

Arsenal, though, would have to again dig deep into the Emirates Stadium reserves, with Benzema likely to command a fee of around £40million, not to mention his hefty wage packet which would be expected to put him amongst the top earners at the club.

Following improved transfer activity in recent seasons, with the purchases of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, Wenger has received the backing of the Arsenal Supporters Trust in a member's survey.

Usmanov, yet to be included on the Arsenal board, believes the 65-year-old Frenchman put his own reputation on the line to help the club move forwards with relocation from Highbury in 2006, which saw almost a decade pass before successive FA Cup triumphs.

"Arsene had a very, very difficult position when club shareholders didn't want to put their money into constructing the new stadium, and because of this he lost five years, maybe the best of his career, without a trophy. In reality, 10 years," Usmanov said.

"If I had the right, I would keep Arsene until he wants because until he cannot perform his activity as a manager, it is a gift for any club to have a coach like Arsene Wenger."

Arsenal are not expected to have midfielder Jack Wilshere (ankle) or forward Danny Welbeck (knee) available against West Ham.

Forward Sanchez will also not be involved following an extended break after helping Chile win the Copa America.

Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE:

Premier League

Article Comments

Report author of article

Please let us know if you believe this article is in violation of our editorial policy, please only report articles for one of the following reasons.

Report author


This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Want more content like this?

Like our GiveMeSport Facebook Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to Facebook, don't ask me again

Follow GiveMeSport on Twitter and you will get this directly to you.

Already Following, don't ask me again

Like our GiveMeSport Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to G+, don't ask me again