Arsenal board stand firm despite takeover rumours

September 21, 2007

Managing director Keith Edelman maintains Arsenal have no intention of making any changes in the boardroom, despite continued speculation concerning a takeover at the Emirates Stadium.

Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov increased his shareholding in the club earlier this week via Red and White Holdings Limited to around 21%, which makes the investment company Arsenal's second-largest shareholder behind director Danny Fiszman.

Usmanov could yet request representation on the board, which would be normal business practice for such a major shareholder and could open the door for former vice-chairman David Dein to return to the club he controversially left in April following a rift over the role of American billionaire stakeholder Stan Kroenke.

However, Edelman sees no reason why a new appointment is needed at this time.

He said: 'The board is free to appoint whomever they believe to be appropriate directors of Arsenal - and at present we are very happy with the individuals that represent the club at board level.'

Despite the continued speculation off the pitch, manager Arsene Wenger insists nothing has changed in terms of his day-to-day responsibilities to keep the players focused on the job in hand.

That seems to be working at the moment, with the Gunners currently top of the Premier League and impressive in their 3-0 Champions League victory over Sevilla at a packed Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night.

Arsenal's parent company are set to publish their annual financial results on Monday, which are understood to show total turnover rocketed to nearly £200million following the move to their new 60,000-seater home - ahead of both Manchester United and Chelsea.

Wenger has an excellent working relationship with the current board, which proved pivotal in his decision to stay at the club he has transformed over the past decade

With Arsenal appearing to be in such good shape both on and off the field and the board having pledged not to sell any more shares in the immediate future, Edelman maintains there is no need to disrupt the current status quo.

'The board is steadfast in its view and we have maintained a consistent and clear position. We do not believe that outside investment is necessary for the long-term good of the club,' Edelman said in a Q&A on the club's official website, www.arsenal.com.

'We are in great shape, as will be seen when we report our results next Monday.

'The stadium has been in operation for over a year now and on the financial front, we can compete with any club in the world.

'We believe that Arsene signing an extension to his contract reinforces our determination to challenge for top honours.

'At the end of the day, we are a football club that wants to win silverware.

'There is no better feeling than triumphing on the pitch. That is what gives us all the greatest of pleasure.

'As for the rest, yes, the exchange of shares may be a distraction and cause for speculation, but we are unmoved in our position.'