Arsenal majority owner Stan Kroenke was quick to react to the public revelation of Alisher Usmanov’s letter of intent to purchase his shares in the club, as well as Ashburton Grove singing in unison for him to leave the club during yesterday’s victory at home versus Everton, by issuing a short and curt statement regarding his intention and future with Arsenal:
KSE UK, Inc notes the recent media speculation concerning its shareholding in Arsenal Holdings PLC and confirms that its shares are not, and never have been, for sale. KSE is a committed, long term investor in Arsenal and will remain so.
There are two ways to look at this statement: at face value, and with distrust.
Kroenke has said, through direct quotes and statements in the past, that he is in it for the long haul with regards to Arsenal and plans to see out this particular project of his until its hopeful, successful conclusion. No offer, from Usmanov or elsewhere, can get him to sell as it could be seen as an admission of failure and, more damming, a validation of his detractors that he bought into Arsenal ultimately as a way to profit off its back.
Then again, anyone who’s been a part of any sort of negotiation - of matters both small and large - can read into Kroenke’s statement as the logical next step in talks that could lead to a sale of his shares. Stan Kroenke is first and foremost a businessman, an investor, a shrewd evaluator of properties, holdings, firms, brands, industries, and markets. It’s not all that difficult to look at the statement above, knowing the events that have preceded it, and see that Kroenke could easily be in the process of determining what the maximum value of his ownership stake is while also testing out Usmanov’s (or other potential, unknown buyers) determination in buying his shares.
I personally believe the former scenario to be more the case than the latter, but if Kroenke’s actually serious about his intentions to at least finding out what the value of his property is I don’t expect there to be a conclusion to the story any time soon.