Usmanov 'doesn't want to takeover' Arsenal

September 30, 2007

Arsenal managing director Keith Edelman has insisted Alisher Usmanov does not want to take over the club.

Chairman Peter Hill-Wood and Edelman met Farhad Moshiri - joint owner with the Russian billionaire of Red and White Holdings which now owns 23% of the club - on Friday in what was termed a 'constructive' get together.

But coming less than a week after the Gunners announced hugely impressive financial results, with massive leaps in turnover and profit, Edelman remains adamant that Usmanov merely sees his shares in the north Londoners as a good piece of business.

'He said to us he believes we are a very good long-term investment,' Edelman told BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek.

'He did not want to take the club over and said he wants to regard it as an investment and he thought he was going to make a lot of money out of it.

'His advisors assured us that Mr Usmanov is an Arsenal fan, loves the club and it's a shareholding. Now we'll have to wait and see what happens over time.'

He added: 'As far as the board is concerned, we don't believe we are in any danger of being taken over, it's business as usual and we believe we'll be running this club for many years to come.

'I don't think he will control Arsenal Football Club, and I don't think he wants to.'

Following Arsenal's stunning financial results, Edelman believes Usmanov might be questioning the wisdom of changing the current regime.

'Perhaps he's taking a look down the road at another club in London and seeing that the way we're running our club is good for his investment to produce good returns on the money he's put in the club,' he said.

'Possibly that's the reason he doesn't want to stop us running the club and operating it.

'If you look at Chelsea and look at Arsenal, we are running our club in terms of our revenues and our profits, we're running it from generated cash, without people having to put extra money in every year, and we're running it very profitably.

'If you're investing in a club you want to make a return on your investment.'

Edelman added: 'A lot of clubs look attractive because they're big world brands, but if you're investing and you want to see a return on your money then you want it to be profitable.

'Arsenal is profitable, Chelsea is not profitable at this juncture.'