Arsenal's Usmanov Backs Rooney Transfer
Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney could be the ideal signing for Arsenal, according to Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, the Premier League club's second-biggest shareholder.
"He is a great player, there would be great success for Rooney [if he joined Arsenal], and for Arsenal too," Usmanov told CNBC, speaking from the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Usmanov, who is the richest man in both the U.K. and Russia, owns 29.9 percent of Arsenal and has backed a summer transfer spree in an attempt to revive the club's fortunes. Arsenal has failed to win a trophy since 2005 and manager Arsene Wenger faced heavy criticism last season after key players left the club without strong replacements being found.
"We as shareholders point to some drawbacks in the management of the club, but Wenger is a great coach and the club is progressing in the commercial sense," said Usmanov. "We should trust him."
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Rooney has been widely touted as a possible Arsenal purchase, and Rooney indicated he would look to leave Manchester United at the end of last season. The U.K. press speculate that he could demand a transfer fee of more than 20 million pounds ($30.9 million) and a weekly wage of 200,000 pounds.
"It is high time for the club to win the highest trophies in the European Champions League, but I believe in the club's future," said Usmanov. Arsenal finished fourth in last year's Premier League, despite a disappointing start to the season, and sealed its place in the lucrative Champions League competition.By CNBC.com's Matt Clinch. Follow him on Twitter @mattclinch81.