Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov has criticized Arsene Wenger’s transfer dealings, saying the club needs to strengthen in “every position” to challenge Europe’s top clubs.
Usmanov called Wenger’s principles a “restriction”, claiming there is “money in the club” available to the French manager to spend on players.
“We need to strengthen every position to play on the level of such teams in the UK as Chelsea and Manchester City, in Europe like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and other clubs,” Usmanov told CNBC in an exclusive interview.
“I like Arsene for his principles. But principles are sort of restriction. And restrictions are always lost possibilities.”
The billionaire Uzbek businessman is Arsenal’s second biggest shareholder and his public criticism comes at an inopportune time for Wenger.
A 2-1 home defeat at the hands of bitter rivals Manchester United has severely dented Arsenal’s top-four aspirations, with fans vocal in their criticism of the manager during the game.
One of the main complaints against Wenger in recent seasons has been his failure to properly build squads during the transfer window, despite the financial resources at his disposal.
This season has seen Arsenal spread thin in defence due to injury, with a lack of adequate cover at centre-back costing the Gunners.
Arsenal’s poor start to the league season has all but removed the feel good factor generated by last season’s FA Cup triumph and Wenger’s decision to sign a new contract with the club.