Arsene Wenger has faced criticism from Arsenal’s second highest share-holder Alisher Usmanov after falling to a 1-2 defeat to Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium. The influential investor seemed to hint that Wenger was holding the club back and that the present Arsenal squad is not good enough to compete against the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
Wenger’s inability to win big matches in Europe and in the Premier League has been severely criticized with Usmanov suggesting that Wenger’s principles are holding the manager and the club from winning games.
Usmanov believes that there is a lot of potential in the Arsenal team but their failure to deliver has disillusioned him as an Arsenal fan. He also said that he was not happy with Arsenal’s performances and that merely finishing 4th every year in the league was not enough.
“Arsenal is a dream that sometimes becomes a mirage and sometimes a pain as every dream. Potential of the team is there, but there is no critical evaluation of own mistakes and their admittance. Because not a single genius can retain its level when he does not admit own mistakes. Only when you admit your mistakes you rid of them. I wish this to my club. Nothing wrong, but we just repeat same results year by year. Quite high to secure the place in the Champions League. But we regularly lose in the first circles of play-offs. As an investor I am not happy with that.”
Usmanov seemed to be taking a dig at Arsene Wenger by commenting that Arsenal never learn from their mistakes and hence suffered the same fate every year. Though he seemed to back Wenger on the surface, the investor hinted sharply that Wenger must consider and learn from his mistakes as a manager.
“He is one of the greatest coaches not just of European, but of world football. But we have Russia proverb which goes – ‘Even an old lady can have a roof falling on her’. Everybody makes mistakes. He can make mistakes and I know as you age that it is more difficult, more challenging to accept ones mistakes. Maybe it’s a problem today.”
Usmanaov went ahead and declared that Arsenal do have money to invest and that though Arsene Wenger is a man of principles, it is the same principles that is holding the club back.
“I like Arsene for his principles. But principles are sort of restriction. And restrictions are always lost possibilities. That’s why sometimes coaches even without principles became the coaches of great teams. And some coaches with principles lose because some positions in team are vacant because of ethical, moral or personal views. Does he have money or not? There is officially money in the club. How does he spend them – this decision investors have left with him. I wish them victories, because their victories are the victories of investors, including myself, and of great Arsenal fans, which deserve these victories.”
The influential investor also made it clear that though he does not interfere with the management of the club, he would like to see Arsenal improve their squad in order to compete against the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
“No, I never try to teach the coach.”
“My opinion, and I tell it openly, we need to strengthen every position to play on the level of such teams in UK as Chelsea and Manchester City, in Europe like Real, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Bavaria and other clubs.”