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Usmanov Says Arsenal’s Kroenke Shows No Wish to Create Winner

April 30 (Bloomberg) -- Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov will consider his strategy for the soccer club by the end of the season, saying majority owner Stan Kroenke “doesn’t show any wish” to create a winning team.

“The team has no superstars now,” Usmanov, Russia’s richest man, said in an interview in Moscow. Should the team finish fourth in England’s Premier League this season, Kroenke “would probably be happy.”

Kroenke, an American who also owns the National Football League’s St. Louis Rams, took control of the north London club in 2011 after acquiring stakes owned by two former board members.

Usmanov and his partner Farhad Moshiri, who together control 30 percent of the club, said they want to boost their stake and criticized the team’s board for its financial decisions after captain Robin van Persie didn’t extend his contract. The Dutch forward moved to Manchester United, where he is the league’s leading scorer and helped the team win the title this season.

Arsenal declined to comment on Usmanov’s statements about Kroenke’s ownership, referring to an October statement from Chief Executive Officer Ivan Gazidis that Kroenke and other board members had a “shared ambition” to win trophies. The Gunners haven’t won a trophy since the 2005 F.A. Cup.

Arsenal, a 13-time English soccer champion, is in the fourth place in the Premier League standings, a place behind billionaire Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea.

Usmanov said he “will think what to do with Arsenal” by the end of the season. “In our understanding, Kroenke has no plans to sell his stake, but we also won’t sell out, as we are the team’s fans,” Usmanov said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Yuliya Fedorinova in Moscow at yfedorinova@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Viljoen at jviljoen@bloomberg.net; Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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