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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 30, 2007

Dein sells Arsenal shares to Russian billionaire

David Dein has outlined his vision to turn Arsenal into the world's number one.

Dein stepped down from the Arsenal board in April over a disagreement over plans to bring American investor Stan Kroenke's millions to the club.

Now, he has been appointed chairman of a company whose goal is to gain hold of a significant stake in the club's shareholding, with Dein having sold his 14.58% stake for £75million to the Red and White Holdings Ltd company.

Red and White is jointly owned by Russian businessman, Alisher Usmanov, and London-based investor, Farhad Moshiri, but has appointed Dein as its chairman.

Dein will spearhead plans to increase its stake in Arsenal, although he insists there is 'no current intention to make a takeover offer'.

Dein is a passionate supporter of current manager, Arsene Wenger, and Red and White intend to approach the Arsenal board to 'explore areas of potential co-operation'.

Dein said: 'Today's announcement marks a significant step towards realising the vision I share with thousands of fans at home and abroad of making Arsenal the world's number one football club.

'I have not lost my passion for the club; indeed, it is greater than ever.

'I have been flattered by the generous offers I have received since April to work with other clubs, both in England and elsewhere.

'But there is only one club for David Dein and that is Arsenal.

'My ambition remains to play an active role in Arsenal again. My immediate intention is to work with others to provide the financial resources necessary to turn the vision into reality.

'To provide these financial resources, Arsenal need new investors. The reality is that football is changing dramatically. A growing number of clubs are being funded by individuals or consortia that are prepared to invest previously unimaginable sums aimed at winning the game's biggest prizes.

'I believe the board should welcome non-British involvement given the wealth of nationalities responsible for Arsenal's success on the pitch, including its manager.

'Without new investors, I feel very soon Arsenal might not be able to compete successfully at the very top level, despite the fantastic work of Arsene Wenger.

'I have maintained my close friendship with Arsene. I believe our professional partnership over many years was highly successful and beneficial for the club we both love.

'I hope it can be resumed. Meanwhile, I want Arsene to continue as manager and, indeed, I have encouraged him to sign a new contract.'

Usmanov has a box at Arsenal and is the majority shareholder in the Russian mining company, Metalloinvest, as well as having investments in mobile phone and television companies and a gas firm.

Moshiri, who was born in Iran but is a UK citizen, is a London-based fund manager and business associate of Usmanov and is the chairman of Metalloinvest.

Dein would not go into any detail over his fall-out with the other board members at the end of last season and knows there will be speculation that Kroenke will be linked with the club once more.

He said: 'Since April, I have deliberately kept my thoughts about Arsenal to myself. I have reflected on what best I should do in the future interests of the club.

'I've always had the best interests of Arsenal at heart - I have had a love affair with the club since I was six.

'I firmly believe the involvement of Red and White with a significant stake and the long-term commitment of Arsene Wenger are absolutely the best outcome for the club, fans and shareholders alike.'

Moshiri said: 'Arsenal is a great club with huge potential and we look forward to increasing out stake and exploring ways to help support the future development of the club for the benefit of all fans and shareholders.'