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Alisher Usmanov reportedly attempts takeover of Arsenal

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His offer to Stan Kroenke was rebuffed, but I don’t think this is the end of the story

Alisher Usmanov Visits The Turner Bequest Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Alisher Usmanov attempted to purchase Stan Kroenke’s stake in Arsenal Football Club last month, by means of a letter to the majority owner, for a reported £1 billion, which would have taken the club’s valuation to £2 billion and putting the operations of the club to the Uzbekistani oil, gas, and general business magnate, the Financial Times has reported. They go on to state that, according to sources familiar with the process, other bidders were considering their own offers to Kroenke for his shares, possibly indicating that the ownership of Arsenal is as tenuous as it has been since the American took full majority control in 2011.

A source said to the Financial Times, regarding Usmanov’s offer, “Two weeks ago, I thought something could realistically happen. Now I am not so sure.” Kroenke is thought to have since reconsidered entertaining Usmanov’s offer and is now resistant at selling his shares - both to Usmanov or to anyone else. However, if the source is accurate in his belief regarding Silent Stan’s pause at the offer, that represents a fissure in Kroenke’s long-standing outright refusal of any offer made towards his shares in the club.

Usmanov’s Red and White Holdings has long been shut out of a seat on the Board even though they own 30% of the club, which has long angered the minority owner. The latest attempt at taking over majority control can be easily seen as a way for Usmanov to unseat the current Board, assume full decision-making and, to possibly the fans’ delight, pave a way to inject the club with funds needed to purchase the players they watch go to other league rivals.

How Usmanov would account for any potential purchase and future expenditure remains to be seen, but these questions - and many more - need to be answered him since it’s very clear Kroenke has left the door slightly ajar to a bigger, historic counter-offer, something Usmanov clearly has the funds and appetite for.