Usmanov takes aim at Arsenal board
Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov has criticised the club hierarchy following Robin van Persie's decision not to renew his contract.
Netherlands international Van Persie enjoyed his best season for the north London side last term, captaining the club to third place in the English Premier League and winning the golden boot as the competition's top scorer.
The 28-year-old announced his intention this week not to renew his contract, which expires at the end of the next season.
He now looks set to follow the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri in becoming the latest high-profile player to depart the club.
Van Persie cited a lack of confidence in the club's long-term strategy as one of the reasons behind his desire to leave.
In a statement released by their investment vehicle Red & White Securities, which holds 30 percent of Arsenal shares, Usmanov and his business partner Farhad Moshiri issued a strong condemnation of club owner Stan Kroenke and the board.
"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," the statement said.
"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."
Usmanov and Moshiri defended the role played by manager Arsene Wenger, expressing their disappointment at the financial constraints the Frenchman is forced to work within.
"It is down to our manager and not the shareholders to have to deal with the club's tight finances, carry the burden of repaying the stadium debt by selling his best players and having to continue to find cheaper replacements," the statement said.
"All of that, naturally, comes at the expense of performance on the pitch.
"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."