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Jul 5, 2012

Kroenke in firing line over RVP

Arsenal's second-biggest shareholders have written an open letter to owner Stan Kroenke expressing their concern about how the American is running the club in the wake of Robin van Persie's declaration he will not be signing a new contract at Emirates Stadium.

• Van Persie to leave Arsenal
• Parlour: Arsenal should cash in
• Jolly: Arsenal at crossroads
•  Blog: RvP - a hero can quickly be forgotten

Alisher Usmanov and Farhad Moshiri, who own just under 30% of Arsenal through investment company Red & White, have outlined "deep reservations" about the Gunners' strategy, after star striker Van Persie confirmed he does not see his long-term future with the club.

Van Persie said in a statement on Wednesday he "disagrees" with the current direction of the side under manager Arsene Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis, with the North London team without a trophy since 2005.

On Thursday, a letter was released on behalf of Usmanov and Moshiri, warning "we are faced with losing our true marquee player" because we cannot "give confidence that we can win trophies," and asking "where are the safeguards to ensure that this doesn't happen again and again?"

They also complained that a "tight" financial regime is leading to Wenger "selling his best players and having to continue to find cheaper replacements."

The letter continued: "In our view it is clear you are trying to distract attention from the more fundamental issues facing the club.

"These are the financial model, the lack of investment and club's future strategic direction.

"At the heart of this is the policy of so-called self-financing. The previous decision by the board to fund the building of the Emirates Stadium with long-term debt was, we believe, certainly not about self-financing."

Red & White, who point out they have "invested circa £200 million of cash'', set out their "vision'' for Arsenal.

The letter added: "It is simple. A debt free club, with a big enough war chest to buy top talent players who can hit the ground running and who can complement the club's long tradition of developing young players and homegrown talent.

"Together they can help the club win the most prestigious trophies - because it is the trophies which are the crowning achievement for everybody at the club.''

Red & White closed their letter by wishing Kroenke "every success'', although stressing they have "deep reservations about the viability of the policies being pursued by his management team and sanctioned by the board''.

The letter concluded: "Finally and reflecting our long-term commitment to the club, we will continue to purchase more shares in the club from anyone who wants to sell them to us.

"Also in order to formalise our long-term involvement with the club and put an end to any speculation over our position, we, as the co-owners of Red & White, will proudly retain our holding in the club as a long-term investment for ourselves and our family members to benefit for generations to come.

"We want the absolute best for the club and will do what is necessary to ensure the success of the club that we all love.''

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