Alisher Usmanov has reportedly made a $1.3 billion (£1 billion) offer to Stan Kroenke for a controlling stake in Arsenal.
According to the Financial Times (h/t Hamish Mackay of the Daily Mirror), the offer was made by Usmanov— who has a 30 per cent stake in the club—last month.
It’s suggested by Mackay that Kroenke, who owns 67 per cent of the Gunners through his company Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, “is yet to respond to the offer, though it is understood he has no interest in selling.”
As noted in the report, there has been tension between Usmanov and Kroenke, with the latter not allowing the former a place on the club’s board.
IAN KINGTON/Getty Images
When asked about the team’s underperformance this season and the criticism aimed at manager Arsene Wenger recently, Usmanov told Bloomberg the club’s major shareholder must “bear huge responsibility,” too.
Owen Gibson of The Guardian believes the information has been leaked with a view to putting more focus on Kroenke’s position, with some supporters making it clear they are keen for the American billionaire to sell up with protests earlier this season:
Owen Gibson @owen_g
Alisher Usmanov making his $1.3bn tilt for Arsenal at an interesting time – clear attempt to put pressure on Kroenke…
5/19/2017, 4:37:54 PM
Details of the offer that could potentially result in a change of ownership will only add to the uncertainty that’s surrounding the Emirates Stadium as things stand.
Wenger, who has been in charge of the first team since 1996, has yet to commit his future to the club, with his contract set to expire at the end of the current term. According to Mackay the Frenchman will sign a new two-year contract.
IAN KINGTON/Getty Images
Given Arsenal are poised to miss out on UEFA Champions League qualification for the first time since Wenger took charge, there will be pressure to invest heavily in the team this summer.
The Gunnerblog Twitter account feels Usmanov has timed this right as a result, although there’s no expectation Kroenke will sell any time soon:
Have to say Usmanov’s timing is smart here. Gives Kroenke a get-out just as fans starting to wise up to him. But Kroenke never sells…
5/19/2017, 4:20:13 PM
Usmanov has been involved with Arsenal since 2007. The oligarch bolstered his shares in the Gunners when he bought those of his business partner Farhad Moshiri, who is now the principal shareholder at Everton, last year.
Usmanov’s company, USM Holdings, have since been confirmed as sponsors for the Toffees’ training facility at Finch Farm.