Alisher Usmanov, a major Arsenal shareholder, has unleashed a scathing attack on the board for their handling of the club and the refusal of Robin van Persie to sign a contract extension.
In an open letter to the board, Usmanov criticised majority shareholder Stan Kroenke and board members for their hostile attitude towards Red & White Holding, the group Usmanov runs with fellow signee Farhad Moshiri.
The strongest words, however, were saved for the failure to hold on to their most prized assets in Van Persie and Cesc Fabregas before him, claiming a lack of investment has meant the club is unable to compete with other clubs in terms of salaries.
“Yet again we are faced with losing our true marquee player because we cannot give confidence we can win trophies,” the letter read.
“Where are the safeguards to ensure this doesn't happen again?”
With regards to recent comments made by Ivan Gazidis claiming the billionaire’s involvement at board level would “create conflict”, Usmanov felt the board were attempting to distract fans’ attention away from the difficulties the club were having.
“We…believe that you, the Board, and the executive management team should focus your energies on the most efficient operation of the Club and desist from seeking to create a false enemy in Red & White,” he went on.
The five page letter also mentioned the denial that Red & White had ever attempted to claim a place on the board, while revealing they had been ignored on a number of occasions when attempting to get a meeting with Kroenke.
Red & White are the second largest shareholder with a 29 per cent stake and insisted the group has the best interests of Arsenal at heart and made it clear they would not be going away any time soon.
“Finally and reflecting our long term commitment to the Club, we will continue to purchase more shares in the Club form anyone who wants to sell them to us,” it went on.
“Also in order to formalise our long-term involvement with the Club and put an end to any speculation over our position, we, as the co=owners of Red & White, will proudly retain our holding in the Club as a long-term investment for ourselves and our family members to benefit for generations to come.”
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