05272017

Usmanov bid ‘great’, something has to change at Arsenal – Wright

Alisher Usmanov

Metal magnate Alisher Usmanov owns 30% of Arsenal shares

Arsenal need the spending power of a billionaire such as Alisher Usmanov in order to move to the next level, says Gunners legend Ian Wright.

Uzbek-born Russian Usmanov has made a £1bn bid to take full control of the Gunners, but majority shareholder Stan Kroenke has shown no interest in it.

“He has put in the bid and it is great news,” Wright told BBC Radio 5 live.

“Something has to change, whether it is the manager Arsene Wenger or whether it is the board upstairs.”

Arsenal need other teams to slip up in Sunday’s final round of matches to avoid missing out on Champions League qualification for the first time in 21 years.

Wenger, who has been manager since 1996, has been the target of protests from some of the club’s fans.

The Frenchman’s future at the club will be decided at a board meeting after Arsenal meet Chelsea in the FA Cup final on 27 May.

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Wenger future to be revealed after cup final

“It is not looking good for Arsenal at the moment,” Wright told 5 live’s Friday Football Social.

“They may be out of the Champions League – something they are not used to – and they have to beat one of the best Chelsea sides I have seen for a long time in the FA Cup final to try and get something from the season.

“Where are they going to sign players from? Who is going to want to come to Arsenal instead of anywhere else in London? At the moment, they are not an attractive proposition.

“We are already missing out on the managers we are supposedly interested in and we are going to start missing out on the kind of players that are going to be available and want to play in the Premier League.

“Top players may want to leave. Too much is up in the air.

“Something has got to happen for Arsenal to go to that next level. This bid will galvanise the fans.”

‘Arsenal need a winner like Abramovich’

Roman Abramovich (right)<!–

Chelsea have won 14 major trophies since Roman Abramovich (second right) took control of the club

Metal magnate Usmanov owns 30% of Arsenal’s shares but is not part of the board or decision-making at the club.

Usmanov said in April that Kroenke must “bear huge responsibility” for the club’s failures on the pitch.

The Gunners’ London rivals Chelsea won the Premier League this season – the fifth time they have done so under the ownership of billionaire Roman Abramovich, who has spent heavily since taking control in 2003.

“Abramovich is a winner,” added Wright, who scored 185 goals in 288 appearances for Arsenal.

“Stan Kroenke sees it as another asset. If you look at all his other franchises, they are doing the same. They are mediocre, with poor attendances and aren’t achieving anything as a team. That is where Arsenal are at the moment.

“We need an owner like Abramovich, who wants to win. I would swap Arsenal’s last 10 years for what Chelsea have done.”

Analysis

Richard Conway, BBC Radio 5 live sports news correspondent

Alisher Usmanov has wanted control of Arsenal for some time.

A long-standing critic of the current board, he has attempted to curry favour with fans by calling for greater investment by Stan Kroenke. He believes the team should be performing at a much higher level.

Now, with questions swirling over Arsene Wenger’s future and with a lack of Champions League football next season looking inevitable, he has made his move.

However, he has been rebuffed.

The big question is whether this was a final throw of the dice by Usmanov? And, with seemingly no prospect of Kroenke selling, will he turn his purchasing power towards another Premier League club?

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