Arsenal investors slam Kroenke over Van Persie contract

The Gunners' second-biggest shareholders, Alisher Usmanov and Farhad Moshiri, have questioned the way the club is operating after the captain announced his intention to depart
Arsenal's second-biggest shareholders, Alisher Usmanov and Farhad Moshiri, have slammed the running of the club under the ownership of Stan Kroenke in response to Robin van Persie's decision not to renew his contract at the Emirates Stadium.

The two shareholders focused their criticisms on the club's "policy of so-called self-financing ... [which] was created to suit the major shareholders at the time, all of whom subsequently sold their shares" for profit.

The letter continued: "As a consequence of this policy, which is dressed up as prudent financial planning, it is down to our manager, and not the shareholders, to have to deal with the Club's tight finances, carry the burden of repaying the stadium debt by selling his best players and having to continue to find cheaper replacements.

"All of that, naturally, comes at the expense of performance on the pitch."

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For the second consecutive summer, Arsenal face the prospect of losing one of their star players, with Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri having departed in 2011, and Usmanov and Moshiri believe that the repeated departures can be put down to a lack of assurances over the club's ambition.

"This [self-financing] policy is leading to the loss of our best players, often to our main competitors, and even causes the players themselves to question their future at the club and the club's ambitions," read the letter.

"The situation with our captain and outstanding performer from last season, Robin van Persie, sums this up. Yet again we are faced with losing our true marquee player at the club because we cannot assure him of the future direction and give confidence that we can win trophies.

"Where are the safeguards to ensure that this doesn't happen again and again in the future? As a top club we should, at the very least, match if not beat the offers that other clubs make to try and lure our very best players away, and also provide a more compelling vision of the future.

"You can try and put a good face on a bad game for as long as you want, pontificating about the merits of this model, but it will not hide the obvious fact that it just does not allow our great manager to fully realise his managerial talent and deliver success for the fans who are paying the highest prices in the land."

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The statement went on to attack the professionalism of current chief executive Ivan Gazidis, accusing the club of attempting to distract from problems such as the financial model they discuss by marginalising the two dissenting shareholders.

"Firstly, there were some very deliberate and public comments by Ivan Gazidis which were intended to leave the club's supporters with an impression that Red & White [Usmanov and Moshiri's investment vehicle] is in some bitter stand-off with the Board over its desire for a Board seat and that our involvement on the Club's Board might cause conflict and 'destabilise' the club," said the letter.

"Secondly, [Russian phone company] OJSC MegaFon received a cold-call letter from Mr Gazidis requesting a meeting to discuss a possible international partnership deal including shirt sponsorship.

"MegaFon is one of the three largest mobile phone companies in Russia and also happens to be over 50 per cent owned by Alisher Usmanov. Is this really the level of professionalism that is being applied to securing long-term commercial contracts?"