Alisher Usmanov, Arsenal's second biggest shareholder, will renew calls for a shake-up of the club's board at the end of the season if the team fail to qualify for the Champions League.
The Uzbek billionaire is understood to believe that such a failure - after 15 successive seasons in the competition - could prove a catalyst for change but, like the board, he supports manager Arsene Wenger.
Usmanov believes Wenger lacks board level expertise to help him - and has been starved of resources, although there are now substantial funds to spend.
Usmanov does not want Wenger to be replaced as manager - he has 18 months left on his current contract - and remains an admirer of the Frenchman and what he has achieved as well as his approach to football.
Usmanov is believed to be frustrated with the continuing refusal of the club's board to hold talks with him and has privately claimed that his patient approach should have been met with greater respect. Usmanov bought into Arsenal five years ago and believes he has not taken an aggressive stance and not been an outspoken critic, despite his frustration at largely being ignored.
It is understood that Wenger met David Dein, Arsenal's former vice-chairman, last week to discuss problems over the team's lacklustre displays. That is a regular occurrence as they have stayed firm friends since Dein, who brought Wenger to the club, left the Arsenal board in 2007 after "irreconcilable differences".
Dein sold his Arsenal shares to Usmanov for pounds 75m and was appointed chairman of Red and White Holdings, the company the billionaire established to build his stake in the club, but quit the following year. His relationship with Usmanov remains good and it may be that the return of Dein could figure in the tycoon's plans if he is able to hold talks with the Arsenal board and the biggest shareholder, Stan Kroenke.
Usmanov, who owns 29.9% of the club, is believed to consider Kroenke's effective sole control, with 66.76%, unhealthy and regarded Arsenal as being in a stronger position when there was more than a 'plularity' of owners with a variety of opinions on the board.
His chances of a role at Arsenal - a seat on the board - remain slight. But he will continue to call for greater team investment and offer to pay down the debt that remains on the Emirates Stadium. So far the Kroenke camp has refused any dialogue.
Usmanov feels there is a lack of expertise on the Arsenal board; he has highlighted that some of the commercial deals are not as strong as he would have expected and he believes the club should capitalise more on social media. His greater concern is that Wenger has seen a drain of talent, such as Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie, while replacements such as Juan Mata and Eden Hazard have moved to Chelsea as Arsenal failed to 'close' deals.
"Arsene is an honourable guy, he never criticises the board, he protects them," one source said. "At some point it is maybe the board that needs to be refreshed."
Usmanov sent a letter last summer in which he questioned the way the club was run at board level and the lack of investment in a team that has not won a trophy since 2005. His stance has been reiterated by fans' groups such as the Arsenal Supporters Trust who have questioned the strength of the Arsenal board and the support structure around Wenger.
However, Wenger has appeared resistant to change and his backroom staff has remained largely unaltered in 16 years. Steve Bould and Neil Banfield were promoted in the summer but neither has much influence. Claims of a rift with Bould have been denied but there has been undoubted tension with the former defender not being allowed to coach as expected.
Wenger has also been resistant to requests from some former players to be involved in the club's set-up. It is believed both Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp approached Wenger to ask if they could take coaching or ambassad-orial roles before being appointed by Manchester City and Ajax.
Usmanov attended a charity dinner with Thierry Henry in Moscow this week and called for the striker to be given a role as an ambassador not a player.
Contract negotiations surrounding Theo Walcott and Bacary Sagna have followed a familiar pattern of drift with Wenger unwilling, it appears, to confront the likelihood that both can leave for free at the end of this campaign. Sagna is believed to be bewildered by the non-scheduling of talks as he wants to stay.
Wenger has significant funds available in January and has tasked Dallas-based transfer-fixer, Dick Law, to strengthen the squad. Inquiries have been made about a raft of players - with a striker and a goalkeeper a priority.