Usmanov joining Arsenal board would create conflict, says Gazidis

The Gunners board member has warned the Uzbeki billionaire that his extra funds and financial power may well not be accepted by the club’s board with Stan Kroenke reluctant

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis has told major shareholder Alisher Usmanov that he and his money may not be welcome on the club’s board.

The billionaire from Uzbekistan is currently close to obtaining the crucial figure of 30 per cent of shares, which would mean he would be allowed access to the north London outfit’s accounts.

However, the current majority shareholder, Stan Kroenke, is believed to not want assistance from others within the club, prompting speculation that Gazidis will snub any move made by Usmanov.

Speaking to supporters groups, Gazidis said:  “I don't think for Mr Usmanov and anyone else out there that we should pump money into the football club, we don't think that is healthy or for the good of the game.

“When I arrived three-and-half years ago there had been a lot of changes on the board and some degree of conflict. Since then we have worked hard to ensure the board is unified and has a common purpose.

“In terms of any further additions to the board it is important we don't disturb that unity and don't create conflict.

“Ultimately that is a board decision but that will be the critical issue – are we all aligned and facing in the same direction.”

Gazidis has also, in reference to Financial Fair Play, hinted at a change in the wage structure at Arsenal, with many of the players currently being paid similar amounts

“Arsenal's squad been based around a flatter salary structure, and we are talking about having a relatively big squad with relatively few superstars,” he added.

“That is part of the team ethos Arsene Wenger develops – that it is about the interaction between players, not the superstar. That carries on into our wage structure.

“We have to make adjustments for the top talent as they are earning a lot of money and I don't think that will slow down - under Financial Fair Play I think they will earn more and more.

“We have to adjust our model but that won't happen instantly. It takes time - three to four years - but we are conscious of that.”