Dein: Arsenal need to look for foreign owner

Former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein believes the London giants need the backing of a foreign owner to keep pace with the Premiership's elite.

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Dein sold his Arsenal shares to Alisher Usmanov, currently the largest shareholder, and is now chairman of the Uzbekistan-born Russian billionaire's company Red and White Holdings.

Asked whether Arsenal needed a mega-rich investor, Dein told the new issue of World Soccer: "That is a sensitive question. As a devoted Arsenal fan I don't want to see them left behind.

"The fact that they have now got effectively two billionaires [Usmanov and Stan Kroenke] as shareholders puts them in good stead for the future, no matter what might happen.

"We are in a different game here. Nothing lasts for ever; football must move with the times.

"For example, the Arsenal team Arsene Wenger inherited was all-English. Changes on the pitch, changes in the boardroom. You always have to be open-minded.

"Anyway, if you have foreign players on the pitch it is hypocritical to say you can't have foreign ownership or overseas directors."

He insisted most foreign owners are not just in it for the money.

"All the very wealthy football investors I've met are in it for the sport," said Dein. "They want some fun out of it. They're not looking for a return on their investment.

"OK, they don't want to lose anything, they have put in good money, but, invariably, it represents only a very small part of their overall wealth. It is a passion investment. They could put the money in the bank but that would be boring.

"For the Glazers at Manchester United, Thaksin Shinawatra at Manchester City and Roman Abramovich at Chelsea the reward and the dividend will be when their team win a trophy. Football clubs are not an investment."

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