Reports have emerged today that Arsenal co-owner Alisher Usmanov is not interested in selling his shares of the club to Stan Kroenke.
The news has been accepted with warm approval from Arsenal fans. Many supporters are afraid of Kroenke taking full control of the club. Kroenke, an American businessman, has a variety of professional sports teams in the United States, and all are faring very poorly. However, he continues to make millions of pounds off of them.
The state of each team has made Arsenal supporters scared of what could occur if Kroenke gets full control of Arsenal. Former Arsenal player Ian Wright has stated Kroenke should be prevented from gaining all the club’s shares.
Alisher Usmanov and the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust
The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust has stated it will oppose any move by Kroenke, or anyone else, to gain full, singular control of the Gunners. On Wednesday, Usmanov personally stated he would not allow such a move to happen.
“In recent days there has been speculation relating to a possible offer for my 30 per cent stake in Arsenal. As part of that I can understand the anxiety that these rumours are causing to the fans as reflected by the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust,” Usmanov said.
“In light of this, I would like to be clear that I am not holding any talks with Mr Kroenke about a sale.”
The Express claims Kroenke was negotiating the purchase of some 18,000-plus shares of the club. Kroenke was expected to pay around £525 million for them.
Usmanov is currently not on Arsenal’s board. The Russian billionaire was not given a seat and there has been speculation he would walk away from the club.
Previously, Usmanov made a £1 billion bid to buy the club; however, the offer was turned down.
“My interest in Arsenal from the beginning was long term and my intention has always been to buy additional shares should they become available,” Usmanov said.
“I have always been and will continue to be an ardent supporter of Arsenal and I see my 30 per cent stake as an important aspect in protecting the best interests of the fans in the club.
“It has been well documented that I have no say in the running of the club, that my views differ from those of the majority shareholder and that I would take a different approach to delivering footballing success.
“I would like to assure supporters that I am open to various future scenarios – a constructive partnership with the majority shareholder, the purchase of his stake either alone or in a consortium, or if a party appears who shares my and undoubtedly the majority of fans’ vision for the club, I could consider the question of selling my stake.”
Many Arsenal fans believe Usmanov could be the club’s saviour as things have deteriorated under Kroenke’s leadership.