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Apr 15, 2011

Takeover won't change Arsenal system

Arsene Wenger insists he will remain very much in charge of team affairs regardless of Stan Kroenke's multi-million takeover at Arsenal.

American tycoon Kroenke is set to take a controlling 62.89% stake in the club having agreed to buy out the holdings of the late Danny Fiszman and Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith for around £234 million.

Kroenke Sports Enterprises is now obliged to make a cash offer for the remaining capital at £11,750 per share, valuing the Gunners' parent company at around £731 million.

However, that process is by no means yet guaranteed, with Red & White Holdings - backed by Usbek oligarch Alisher Usmanov - stating it has no intention of selling a 27% stake, while the Arsenal Supporters Trust have stressed all of their minority shareholders will not sell.

The deal is now subject to the strict rules of the Takeover Panel, and as such Arsenal are limited as to any public comments made.

However, when pressed at Friday's press conference ahead of the clash against Liverpool, Wenger maintained changes behind the scenes would have no impact on the way his team is managed.

"We will continue to run the club with the technical department having the decision on what is technical," Wenger said, having had long talks with Kroenke at Thursday's board meeting.

"For all the rest I have to answer to Stan Kroenke and I am ready for any questions, but I run the technical department."

Wenger continued: "On the football side of things we will continue to focus on the football the way we want to play it to develop our players.

"We have a squad which is about 23 years of age who are in a strong position in the league. We have a certain philosophy of football and we will continue to develop that and to play even better.

"We will continue to run the club like it has been done until now - that means live within our resources, produce our own resources and develop our football team."

Arsenal host Liverpool looking to claw back the seven-point deficit on leaders Manchester United, who take a break from league action this weekend when they face rivals City in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.

With the Gunners set to play their game in hand against North London neighbours Tottenham on Wednesday night, Wenger knows there can be no more margin for error if his team are to stay in contention ahead of the showdown with United at Emirates Stadium on May 1.

However, the Arsenal manager stressed there can be no talk of one bad result now effectively ending their title bid.

"We don't approach a game in that mental state - we think it is an opportunity we want to take," Wenger said. "It is one of the games that can get us to the target that we want, so we look at it in a positive way."

Wenger added: "Liverpool have a good offensive force with Carroll and Suarez, we are as well an offensive team, so it promises to be an interesting game."

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