Usmanov: Kroenke lacks ambition

Alisher Usmanov reignited the civil war at Arsenal by claiming that majority shareholder Stan Kroenke ÔÇ£doesnÔÇÖt show any wishÔÇØ to create a winning team.

Usmanov, who has waged a bitter battle with Kroenke for control of the club, once again poured scorn on the ambitions of his rival, claiming the American ÔÇ£would probably be happyÔÇØ finishing fourth in the Premier League this season.

The 59-year-old Russian billionaire, recently revealed to be BritainÔÇÖs richest man, went on the attack hours after Telegraph Sport revealed that Paris St-Germain would attempt to lure Ars├¿ne Wenger away from Arsenal this summer.

ÔÇ£The team has no superstars now,ÔÇØ said Usmanov, who is also RussiaÔÇÖs richest man with an estimated fortune of ┬ú13.3 billion and owns a 30ÔÇëÔÇëper cent stake in Arsenal along with his partner, Farhad Moshiri.

Usmanov, who has made no secret of his desire to take full control, said he ÔÇ£will think what to do with ArsenalÔÇØ by the end of the season.

He said: ÔÇ£In our understanding, Kroenke has no plans to sell his stake, but we also wonÔÇÖt sell out, as we are the teamÔÇÖs fans.ÔÇØ

Usmanov criticised the clubÔÇÖs board for its handling of the departure of top scorer Robin van Persie, whose controversial sale to Manchester United helped them to regain the Premier League title.

In contrast, Arsenal have struggled to maintain their record of qualifying for the Champions League every season since 1998 and are in a three-way fight for the final two spots.

They have also extended their run without a trophy to eight years, having won nothing since the FA Cup in 2005.

Arsenal declined to comment on UsmanovÔÇÖs criticism, referring to an October statement from chief executive Ivan Gazidis that Kroenke and other board members had a ÔÇ£shared ambitionÔÇØ to win silverware.

The club were also relaxed about PSGÔÇÖs interest in Wenger, who has just over a year remaining on his contract and recently revealed that he may not decide whether to sign a new one until the beginning of 2014.

The Frenchman, who has been in charge for almost 17 years, has famously never broken a contract and has always postponed negotiations until the final year of his existing deal ÔÇô although he has never left it quite as late as January.

With Arsenal having been overtaken by Chelsea and Manchester City as UnitedÔÇÖs main title rivals, this summer could be pivotal in determining Wenger’s long-term future, with the 63-year-old under pressure to spend big to close the gap.

Having established a reputation for financial prudence, he has given mixed messages over how much of the £70 million at his disposal he would be prepared to part with.

by @prolixir.