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Last Updated: Friday, 31 August 2007, 12:30 GMT 13:30 UK
Foreign cash 'can boost Arsenal'
Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein
The move puts David Dein in a strong position at Arsenal
Ex-Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein has told the Premiership club it must welcome foreign investment if it is to succeed in future.

The comments came as he sold his 14.5% stake in the club to a firm co-owned by Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov.

The 75m sale also adds to pressure on the club to give in to a takeover.

Under the deal, Mr Dein became chairman of Red & White Holdings, giving him a way back into the club after it rejected his plans for a US buyout.

Mr Dein left the Arsenal board in April after it failed to back his proposals that American Stanley Kroenke take control of the club.

"I believe the board should welcome non-British involvement in the club given the wealth of nationalities responsible for Arsenal's success on the pitch, including that of its manager," Mr Dein said.

"Without new investors I fear Arsenal might very soon not be able to compete successfully at the very top level."

'Best outcome'

BBC Sport's Jonathan Legard understands Mr Dein's move has met with the approval of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger - despite him voicing concerns last season that the Gunners may fall into foreign hands.

WHO OWNS ARSENAL?
Danny Fiszman: 24.11%
Nina Bracewell-Smith: 15.9%
Red and White: 14.58%
Stanley Kroenke: 12.19%
Richard Carr: 4.3%
Lansdowne Holdings: 2.7%
Peter Hill-Wood: 0.8%
Other board members: 0.2%

Mr Usmanov's firm, Red & White Holdings, is co-owned by London-based investor Farhad Moshiri.

It said it wanted to up its stake in Arsenal over time, but it stressed there were no plans for an imminent increase in its holding.

Red & White said it felt it crucial that manager Arsene Wenger stayed at Arsenal as he was "vital to the future success of the club".

Mr Dein, a close ally of Mr Wenger, said the club needed people or consortia "prepared to invest previously unimaginable sums aimed at winning the game's biggest prizes".

WHO IS ALISHER USMANOV?
Majority shareholder in Metalloinvest, a Russian mining and metallurgy firm
Share portfolio includes holdings in Russian business newspaper Kommersant and mobile phone firm Megafon
General Director of Gazprominvestholding, investment arm of Gazprom

He added was "delighted" to have found investors who shared his vision for the club.

"I have always had the best interests of Arsenal at heart. I've had a love affair with the club since I was six," he said.

"My ambition remains to play an active role in Arsenal again. My immediate intention is to work with others to provide the financial resources necessary to turn the vision into reality.

"I firmly believe that the involvement of Red & White with a significant stake and the long-term commitment of Arsene Wenger are absolutely the best outcome for the club, fans and shareholders alike."

WHO IS FARHAD MOSHIRI?
Iranian-born, London-based fund manager and business associate of Mr Usmanov
Investments include a 9.9% stake in stockbroker Panmure Gordon & Co
Chairman of Metalloinvest, where Mr Usmanov is a majority shareholder

Mr Moshiri said the new investment would help it maximise the club's revenue streams.

"Arsenal is a great club with huge potential and we look forward to increasing our stake and exploring ways to help support the future development of the club for the benefit of all fans and shareholders," he said.

There has been a flurry of foreign investment in Premier League sides in recent years.

Russian oil billionaire Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003 while the champions, Manchester United, are owned by the American businessman Malcolm Glazer.

And in February the American sports entrepreneurs George Gillet and Tom Hicks took control of Liverpool.




SEE ALSO
Arsenal chairman snubs US buyer
18 Apr 07 |  Arsenal
Foreign owners boost UK football
09 Aug 07 |  Business

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