Arsène Wenger has said that he will stay in charge of team affairs at Arsenal regardless of the American investor Stan Kroenke’s multi-million-pound takeover of the club, which was announced this week.
Kroenke is set to take a controlling 62.89% stake in the Premier League club, having agreed to buy out the holdings of Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith and the late Danny Fiszman for around £234m. 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 £731m. However, that process is not guaranteed, with Red & White Holdings – which is backed by the Uzbek businessman Alisher Usmanov – stating that it has no intention of selling its 27% stake. The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust has said that all of its minority shareholders will not sell.
The deal is now subject to the strict rules of the Takeover Panel and Arsenal are limited as to any public comments they can make. However, when pressed at a press conference ahead of Sunday’s home match against Liverpool, Wenger said that 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,” said Wenger, who spoke to Kroenke at a board meeting on Thursday. “For all the rest I have to answer to Stan Kroenke and I am ready for any questions, but I run the technical department.
“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 are seven points behind the Premier League leaders, Manchester United, who play Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Saturday. Arsenal play their own derby, against Tottenham Hotspur, on Wednesday night and United come to the Emirates Stadium on 1 May.
Wenger said there could be no talk of one bad result effectively ending his team’s title bid.
“We don’t approach a game in that mental state, we think it is an opportunity we want to take,” the manager said. “[Liverpool] is one of the games that can get us to the target that we want so we look at it in a positive way. Liverpool have a good offensive force with [Andy] Carroll and [Luis] Suárez, we are as well an offensive team so it promises to be an interesting game.”