Wenger backs Alisher Usmanov joining board


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The Independent Football

Arsène Wenger yesterday claimed he was open to Alisher Usmanov taking a seat on Arsenal's board after the Russian billionaire claimed he wants a greater involvement at the club.

Usmanov has consistently bought up odd shares at an inflated market price – including four earlier this week at an average price of £15,820 each – and yesterday told a Russian TV channel he wants to boost his holding above 30 per cent.

He currently owns fractionally less than that figure, but should be reach the threshold Premier League rules dictate he would have full access to the club's books.

Usmanov would also be entitled to a seat on the board, but the majority shareholder Stan Kroenke is reluctant to allow such a move because of a difference of opinion between the two on the future direction of the club.

Wenger said: "I have zero shares so I cannot sell him anything! For the rest I don't want to be involved in that. But why not [let Usmanov have greater involvement]?

"Should he have a seat on the board? That is a decision for the board. Why not? As long as we have the freedom to decide on the sporting side, I have not to decide what is going on with the board."