Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov has claimed that Thierry Henry wants him to purchase a controlling stake in the club.
The Ukbeki business man has been a long-term critic of the Gunners' practices in the transfer market and has called for money to be spent on big-name signings in an attempt to break the Gunners' trophy drought, which has lasted seven seasons.
Usmanov does not currently have a seat on the Gunners' board due to his past criticisms, but the 59-year-old has claimed that the club's record goalscorer is desperate to see him take control at the Emirates Stadium.
“I like many footballers and I’m in contact with some of them,” he said, speaking to L’Equipe. “Perhaps my favorite of the last 10, 15 years is Thierry Henry. He’s pushing me to buy all of Arsenal’s shares but I cannot predict the future.
He added, “When I had the chance to buy some shares and become one of the main shareholders, I didn’t hesitate. I was even ready to take total control.
“That wasn’t possible because certain people preferred to make a profit and create, using me, an outside enemy. I remain portrayed as a pirate, an enemy. They have won that game.”
Usmanov backed Arsene Wenger to bring success to the club, despite the financial constraints placed on him by the current regime and insists that he wants to see the club succeed, whether he is in control or not.
“For me, Arsene Wenger is one of the best coaches in the world but it’s not easy for him,” he continued. “I think he deserves that players are brought in when needed. If that happens, we can ask everything of him. But, today, he’s sacrificed because of the policy.
“Everything’s in Mr Kroenke’s hands and I hope he succeeds, even if he doesn’t go along with my ideas.
“The greatest achievement of Arsene Wenger is to have created two teams: the one that now plays for our rivals and the one that is trying to be among the best in the League.
“That’s why I say it’s not enough to merely flatter the coach but to give him the possibility to buy superstars. And not just stars but those chosen by Wenger."
Follow GOAL.COM on Twitter
- Sports & Recreation
- Alisher Usmanov
- Arsene Wenger
- Thierry Henry