Alisher Usmanov, Arsenal’s second largest shareholder after American Stan Kroenke, on Monday launched a stunning criticism of Gunners coach Arsene Wenger, accusing the Frenchman of failing to learn from his mistakes while claiming that the club needs to strengthen in every position if it is to compete with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City. Arsenal slumped to eighth-place in the Premier League standings -- the club's worst start to a season since 1982-83 -- following a 2-1 loss to rival Manchester United at the Emirates on Saturday, and the Russian billionaire blames Wenger.
“[Wenger] is one of the greatest coaches, not just of European, but of world football,” he said in an interview with CNBC. “But we have a Russian proverb which goes: ‘Even an old lady can have a roof falling on her.’ Everybody makes mistakes. He can make mistakes and I know as you age it is more difficult, more challenging to accept one’s mistakes. Does [Wenger] have money or not? There is officially money in the club.”
He continued: “Arsenal is a dream that sometimes becomes a mirage and sometimes a pain as every dream. [The] potential of the team is there but there is no critical evaluation of mistakes and they need to need to acknowledge them. Because no genius can retain the same level of genius if they do not acknowledge mistakes. It’s only when you admit your mistakes that you can get rid of them. My opinion –- and I tell it openly -– 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 and other clubs.”