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Last Updated: Monday, 10 September 2007, 16:48 GMT 17:48 UK
Arsenal not for sale - Hill-Wood
By BBC sports editor Mihir Bose

Emirates Stadium
Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood says he is willing to talk to Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov - but not about selling the Gunners.

Former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein heads a company that wants to gain a significant stake in the Gunners after selling his shares to Usmanov.

Hill-Wood told BBC Sport: "The major shareholders have no intention of selling and wouldn't welcome an offer.

"But we will have a dialogue with any principal or major shareholder."


Hill-Wood added: "If they've got some sensible proposals we'll listen to them."

However Hill-Wood's attitude to the possibility of talks with Dein was somewhat different.

"I see no major point in that, I've had 25 years of listening to him," added the Arsenal chief.

Dein left the Gunners after Hill-Wood and the other board members rejected his attempts to bring in investment from American billionaire Stan Kroenke.

He sold his 14.58% stake in Arsenal for 75m to Red and White Holdings Ltd - a company co-owned by Usmanov and business partner Farhad Moshiri - and was then appointed its chairman.

The former Arsenal vice-chairman maintained the Gunners would not be able to compete with the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool without major foreign investment.

But Hill-Wood insisted the Arsenal board's strategy of fiscal prudence was the right way to go. He said: "I have no objection to foreign investors coming into the Premier League, it's going to be beneficial.

We have always run Arsenal as a business and kept within reasonable bounds

Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood

"Most of them are investment people and they're not buying into clubs because they have the passion for the local team they have supported since they were two years old.

"They think that football and the Premier League is an attractive investment and they want a return on that.

"That will work in our favour. There will be a more sensible attitude in transfer fees at silly levels and all this sort of thing.

"People putting 100m in are going to want to see how they can make a profit. To go on paying more to players is not justified or sensible.

"We have always run Arsenal as a business and kept within reasonable bounds.

"All this nonsense about needing a billionaire to put a whole lot of money in to help shore up the annual deficit is not going to happen - it's lunacy."

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