Alisher Usmanov: Arsenal need Arsene Wenger

Joe Hall
Follow Joe
Usmanov: Wenger is Arsenal's "main asset" (Source: Getty)

Arsenal's second largest shareholder Alisher Usmanov has given his unequivocal backing to beleaguered manager Arsene Wenger.

Read more: Alisher Usmanov is no longer Russia’s richest man

Some fans have called for Wenger to step down following a season which looks set to end without silverware unless the Gunners can overhaul an 11-point gap between themselves and Premier League leaders Leicester.

But Usmanov, who increased his stake in the North London giants above 30 per cent earlier this month, has described the 66-year old French manager was the club's "main asset" and the architect of the club's success.

The Russian billionaire believes Wenger should not be sacked, but should be allowed to leave on his own terms and help pick his successor.

"The club must retain its major symbol and main asset - manager Arsene Wenger," said Usmanov.

"Failures have been haunting Arsenal for many years now, they cannot become the Premier League champions. This has led to some discontent with Wenger's position as a manager.

"I believe that Arsene Wenger is a great coach, and Arsenal has to give him the opportunity to plan the succession process and leave his legacy when he deems it necessary.

"It is very important for the football club to maintain the principles that were established by those people who created its victories.

"Arsenal needs Arsene Wenger."