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Usmanov makes Arsenal pledge

Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov insists he has no intention of selling his shares in Arsenal despite reportedly losing £6.7billion in the global financial crisis - because he is 'in love' with the club. He described his affection for the Premier League outfit as like a love a man has for a woman and not only does he not want to lose any of his 24% stake in Arsenal he wants to increase it to a 25% share.

"When a man loves a woman he can't conceivably sell that love. I'm in love with Arsenal. I have no intention of selling it [my stake]," he told the Guardian.

"As long as Arsène Wenger is manager that's not going to happen."

According to the financial news service Bloomberg, Usmanov has lost £6.7bn of his fortune but the Russian oligarch claims it is "absolutely inconceivable I could have lost that kind of money".

Bloomberg also suggest that Roman Abramovich - Russia's third richest man and the owner of Chelsea FC - has seen his fortune plummet by £11.75bn.

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