The co-owner of Arsenal, Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, has not got a place on the board of Arsenal, even though he would dearly love one and is second only to Stan Kroenke in how much of the club he owns. So that means he has no direct control or say in the running of the club.
In reality, however, when someone like that who owns over 30 percent of a club has something to say about the running of it, people tend to listen. Usmanov has done that before, of course, criticising the lack of investment in players. But yesterday he turned his attention to Arsene Wenger for the first time, suggesting that it was the manager’s philosophy and transfer policy that was to blame for our struggles.
And that seems to have really set the cat among the pigeons, as Usmanov has always backed the Frenchman before. So is this a turning point in the club’s steadfast backing of Wenger? The report in the Daily Star which reveals that the Gunners’ chief executive Ivan Gazidis just happened to pop by the training facility yesterday for a chat with the manager, suggests that maybe it is.
It is still unlikely that Arsenal will sack Wenger outright after his 18 years of service, but there could be talks about the best way and the best time for him to step aside or move upstairs. Or Gazidis could have been coming with a message that Wenger really needs to spend in January to sort things out and stop all the calls for him to be replaced.
One thing is for sure, if Usmanov is leading the `Wenger Out` campaign, it will hold a hell of a lot more weight. So do you think the Prof’s days as manager of Arsenal FC are numbered?