Usmanov fires financial warning

Russian billionaire and Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov has warned the Gunners that the club will no longer be able to challenge for the Premier League title or Champions League crown without significant financial investment.

Arsene Wenger's side have failed to pick up any silverware since their 2005 FA Cup triumph at the Millennium Stadium.

And at one point last season they appeared unlikely to qualify for the Champions League, with Aston Villa favourites to finish fourth before suffering an end-of-season slump.

Usmanov, Arsenal's second largest shareholder, recently revealed his disappointed that a proposal he made to the board to issue new shares which would inject fresh capital into the club was rejected.   The money this would have created could have been used to reduce the club’s debt, as well as providing Wenger with fresh transfer resources, with the Frenchman having so far only recruited Ajax defender Thomas Vermaelen for around £10 million.

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis stated that the proposal by Usmanov's company, Red & White Holdings, was snubbed because the board did not want to use "permanent capital in an inflated transfer market." And in response, Red & White Holdings have revealed their disagreement with the board's stance.

"Based on financial information that only they have, the board have informed us that they are confident they have adequate financial resources to support the manager to strengthen the squad, to weather the property downturn, to renegotiate the Highbury Square loan on good terms and to deal with the continuing difficult economic conditions," said a statement.

"We do not share their view but are prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt for the moment."

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