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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 September 2007, 11:51 GMT 12:51 UK
Edelman dismisses Usmanov threat
Arsenal managing director Keith Edelman
Arsenal fans and shareholders should understand that the board is resolute

Keith Edelman
Arsenal managing director Keith Edelman is "relaxed" about Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov's interest in the club.

Usmanov's investment company Red and White Holdings Limited (RAWHL) owns nearly a quarter of the club's shares.

Edelman told BBC Radio 5live: "They've said previously they are not going to make a bid for the company and they want to be long-term shareholders.

"It's business as usual. As far as the board is concerned we don't believe we are in any danger of being taken over."

RAWHL, which is jointly owned by Usmanov and London-based Farhad Moshiri, upped its stake in Arsenal to 23% on Friday and is now the second-largest shareholder behind director Danny Fiszman, who owns 24.11%.

Edelman and Gunners chairman Peter Hill-Wood enjoyed lengthy discussions with Moshiri earlier in the week in which RAWHL set out their stall.

"We agreed to have an open dialogue between the parties over the next few months," added Edelman.

"And we expect to meet and talk to them consistently and see how that relationship develops.

"What he said to us was that he thought we were a very good long-term investment and that he did not want to take the club over, and thought he was going to make a lot of money from this. That's what he said to us."

Following Arsenal's stunning financial results, Edelman believes Usmanov might be questioning the wisdom of changing the current regime.

"Perhaps he's taking a look down the road at another club in London and seeing that the way we're running our club is good for his investment to produce good returns on the money he's put in the club," he said.

"Possibly that's the reason he doesn't want to stop us running the club and operating it.


"If you look at Chelsea and look at Arsenal, we are running our club in terms of our revenues and our profits, we're running it from generated cash, without people having to put extra money in every year, and we're running it very profitably.

"If you're investing in a club you want to make a return on your investment.

"A lot of clubs look attractive because they're big world brands, but if you're investing and you want to see a return on your money then you want it to be profitable.

"Arsenal is profitable, Chelsea is not profitable at this juncture."

Edelman added: "It was a very friendly and cordial meeting and clearly we have to see if they do what they say their intentions are.

"So I think it is going to be important over the next few months to see whether they commit and keep doing what they said they were going to do.

"Arsenal fans and shareholders should understand that the board is resolute. We are going to be resolute for a very much longer period of time and I don't believe we are going to be taken over by any party.

"The board have got a lock in so they can't sell any shares until April next year and I think everyone has stated that they intend to continue that after that time."

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