Usmanov To Launch Bid For Arsenal
There have been several reports recently that Alisher Usmanov will announce any day now that he has acquired Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith’s 15.6% share in Arsenal. This will take Usmanov’s holding to over 40%, resulting in him being obliged to make a formal offer for the club.
The Board, namely Peter Hill-Wood will make statements to the effect that the club is not for sale, despite the fact the Hill-Wood sold his shares in Arsenal many years ago to David Dein! Danny Fiszman will also resist the lure of Usmanov as it will see the return to the club of his nemesis David Dein.
The real kingmaker is new board member Stan Kroenke. Kroenke has built a stake up approaching the crucial 29.9% mark, mostly through the sale of shares for fellow board members Fiszman and the Carr brothers. Significantly, Kroenke is not subject to the “lock-down” agreement that the other board members have signed up to.
Kroenke stake in the club is primarily to make a profit and if Usmanov offers him a premium he will accept the price and sell his shares. Kroenke is not a long-term investor in the club.
The takeover of the club is what Arsenal needs; we need one person to be the powerbroker, one person who will drive the club forward. At the moment we have too many people with different agendas.
Many fans will fear the Usmanov will saddle the club with debt in the same way as the Glazers did at Manchester United and Hicks and Gillett did at Liverpool. I doubt this will be the case. This is man who offered to pay-off the club’s £100million debt in return for a larger stake in the club only to have this idea turned down by the board.
Usmanov will bring back to the club Mr Arsenal – David Dein. This will be the perfect move as Dein ensured that Wenger got his transfer targets, we would have bought Hangeland, Chamakh and Matuidi had Dein been at the club in the summer.
If Usmanov is successful in taking over the club, I hope he has the foresight to retain the services of Ivan Gazidis who is taking Arsenal forward in the commercial and marketing spheres.
Arsenal Football Club needs one owner and that man is Alisher Usmanov.