Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov takes dig at Arsène Wenger | inside World Soccer

Alisher Usmanov, Arsenal's second largest shareholder, has suggested that Arsène Wenger is failing to learn from past mistakes and being restricted by his footballing principles.


The 2-1 defeat to Manchester United on Saturday left Arsenal in eighth place in the Premier League with four wins from 12 matches - their worst start to a season since the 1982/83.

Usmanov, a self-confessed Arsenal fans, said that Wenger retains his backing but the Frenchman must loose some of his principles.

In an exclusive interview with CNBC, the Russian billionaire said: "He is one of the greatest coaches not just of European, but of world football.

"But we have Russia 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 that it is more difficult, more challenging to accept ones mistakes. Maybe it's a problem today.

"I like Arsène for his principles. But principles are sort of restriction. And restrictions are always lost possibilities.

"That's why sometimes coaches even without principles became the coaches of great teams. And some coaches with principles lose because some positions in team are vacant because of ethical, moral or personal views."

Usmanov, the world's 34th richest person with a fortune estimated at £11.5 billion, believes Arsenal need to strengthen in every position if they are to compete with the elite of English and European football.

He added: "My opinion, and I tell it openly, we need to strengthen every position to play on the level of such teams in UK as Chelsea and Manchester City, in Europe like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Bavaria (Bayern Munich) and other clubs."

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