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By ESPN Staff

Usmanov calls for Arsenal to ''step up'' deals

Arsenal must ''step up'' their transfer dealings this summer if they want to compete with Manchester United, according to major shareholder Alisher Usmanov.

Manager Arsene Wenger this week defended his policy of developing his own talents, rather than spending ''magic money'', in the wake of the Gunners' Champions League semi-final mauling at the hands of United.

Frustration is growing, however, after four years without a trophy, with envious fans left to marvel at the array of established stars available to Sir Alex Ferguson.

The likes of Dimitar Berbatov, Carlos Tevez, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes were all left on the sidelines when Tuesday night's second leg kicked off at the Emirates Stadium.

And Usmanov, the Russia-based billionaire who owns 25% of the club's shares, believes Arsenal must spend lavishly this summer if they want to pose a greater challenge to the English and European champions next term.

''At times it was a bit like men against boys,'' he said.

''Does the club need to take a step up? Of course. To be first in the world, to be first in Europe, you must have a much stronger bench.

''Look at United on Tuesday night. They had at least £100m in talent sitting on the bench.''


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