June 1 (Reuters) - Arsenal minority owner Alisher Usmanov has urged the club’s board and major shareholder Stan Kroenke to support manager Arsene Wenger and protect his legacy after the Frenchman signed a two-year deal to extend his 21-year stay in North London.
Usmanov is a 30 percent shareholder at the Premier League club but is not a board member. He has publicly backed Wenger on several occasions but played no part in the decision to award the Frenchman a revised deal.
“I am pleased Arsene Wenger will continue to manage Arsenal for the next two years -- he is one of the best coaches in Europe,” Usmanov said in a statement on Thursday.
”What is now of paramount importance is that he receives the full support of the board and the majority shareholder (Kroenke).
“He has a great opportunity to deliver the success that the fans deserve and the legacy his long contribution merits.”
The Russian billionaire, who failed to buy out American Kroenke earlier this month, also said he would intervene if Wenger did not receive the required backing.
“Without the right support there remains a real risk his legacy will be tarnished. If the support is not forthcoming we stand ready to step in and do everything we can to deliver success on and off the field,” Usmanov added.
Arsenal won a record 13th FA Cup title last week and Wenger is hoping to recruit top quality players in the transfer window to improve on their fifth-place finish. (Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by John O‘Brien)