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Alisher Usmanov backs Arsene Wenger

Mildly surprising, but not unwelcome.

he looks so happy!
he looks so happy!
Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Alisher Usmanov, everyone's favorite minority partner in Arsenal, issued a statement today in support of Arsene Wenger. Unlike a lot of those statements of support, which generally are full of meaningless words and presage a firing, this one seems actually genuine. Among other nice things, he said:

"I believe that Arsene Wenger is a great coach, and Arsenal have to give him the opportunity to plan the succession process and leave his legacy when he deems it necessary."

And despite my feelings that Arsene should go after this year, I also wouldn't necessarily be angry if he stayed, and Usmanov has a point that Arsene should choose the timing of his departure. Either way, it's nice to hear something official come out of someone who is actually connected to the club, rather than hearing people say what they think the club thinks, or try to interpret the prevailing winds after a game, or whatever it is people do when they think they know what's going on.

Because really, the only people that do know what's going on are the ones at the club, and like him or not, Usmanov is definitely part of the club. So hearing him say positive words about a contentious subject is refreshing, if nothing else.