Arsene Wenger should be allowed to decide when he leaves Arsenal as he is the club’s “main asset”, according to major shareholder Alisher Usmanov.
The Gunners have exited the Champions League and FA Cup and are 11 points behind Premier League leaders Leicester but Wenger is being absolved of blame by the club’s owners.
The Russian tycoon told Rossiya24 TV channel: “I have increased my stake in Arsenal to above 30%, and became the second largest shareholder.
“Arsenal’s results are stable. They are always among the leaders of the English Premier League. This is a good and large sports business project, and I am pleased with it.
“The only thing is that today such situation occurred, like in any sport, there are ups and downs.
“The club must retain its major symbol and main asset – manager Arsene Wenger. Failures have been haunting Arsenal for many years now, they cannot become the EPL champions.
“This has led to some discontent with Wenger’s position as a manager.
“I believe that Arsene Wenger is a great coach, and Arsenal has to give him the opportunity to plan the succession process and leave his legacy when he deems it necessary.
“It is very important for the football club to maintain the principles that were established by those people who created its victories.
“Arsenal needs Arsene Wenger.”