Reports in Italy last week suggested that major Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov was attempting to sign Palermo striker Paulo Dybala – without Arsene Wenger or the club’s say so – but the Uzbeki billionaire has denied the claims via a statement.
The Daily Star cited Italian journalist Gianluca DiMarzio, who wrote that Usmanov made enquiries about the player to the Italian side.
The bizarre revelation came in the same week Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini claimed the Gunners, along with Juventus, had made an offer for the 21-year-old Argentine – a claim Arsene Wenger immediately rebuked in his pre-Liverpool press conference yesterday.
It was an entirely confusing report, largely due to Usmanov’s status within Arsenal.
He may be the club’s second largest shareholder but is largely shunned by the club, its board of directors and Arsene Wenger and holds almost no say despite owning 25%, according to the Daily Star.
If he attempted to sign a star on behalf of Arsenal it would presumably be immediately rebuffed because of the club’s sheer refusal to do business with him.
UPDATE: Red & White Holdings Limited (“Red & White”) have denied the story in the Daily Star, sending the following statement to fanatix by email:
Contrary to inaccurate media reports, Red & White would like to clarify that it has not made any formal or informal contact with either Paulo Dybala, his agent or Palermo football club.
Red & White owns 30.04% of Arsenal Holdings Plc.
Arsenal continue to be linked with Dybala, but it appears that Usmanov will not influence the deal.