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By ESPN Staff

Arsenal defiant despite Red and White meeting

Arsenal insist the club's board members have no intention of selling their shareholding despite admitting a 'constructive meeting' took place with Farhad Moshiri of Red and White Holdings Limited, who now possess almost a quarter of the club's shares.

The investment company, jointly owned by London-based Moshiri and Russian Alisher Usmanov, yesterday further increased their stake in Arsenal to 23%, consolidating their position as the second-largest shareholder behind director Danny Fiszman, who owns 24.11%.

Shares in Arsenal are now trading around the £10,000 mark, and talk of a full-blown takeover shows few signs of dissipating.

Arsenal's parent company earlier this week published highly impressive figures for 2006/2007, with overall turnover up to £200.8million at Emirates Stadium and operating profit also increased significantly to £51.2million following the club's move to their new 60,000-seater home.

Despite all of the speculation, however, the current board have always maintained they have no intention of selling up, and are currently in a 12-month 'lockdown' agreement.

Arsenal already have a good working relationship with American billionaire investor Stan Kroenke, whose company hold around 12% of stock and have a marketing partnership with the Gunners through their Major League Soccer club Colorado Rapids.

Despite the confirmation a meeting with Red & White Holdings - whose chairman is former Arsenal board member David Dein - the directors insist the stance on the sale of any of their 45.45% remains unmoved.

A statement read: 'The board of Arsenal Holdings wish to confirm that a constructive meeting took place between (chairman) Peter Hill-Wood, (managing director) Keith Edelman and Farhad Moshiri of Red and White Holdings Limited.

'Board members of Arsenal Football Club wish to reiterate their intention of retaining their shareholding in the club and have no intention of selling any shares.

'The board believe that the continued success of the club can best be achieved by the company remaining independent.'