Arsenal fans were left “galvanised”, to quote legend Ian Wright there, at the fact that rumours suggested Alisher Usmanov had made a bid to buy out Stan Kroenke’s shares at Arsenal.
Kroenke is a disliked figure around the Emirates, often criticised for his lack of commitment and investment into Arsenal Football Club. He currently owns a 67% share of Arsenal and holds a key influential position as the club’s majority shareholder. In the background is Arsenal’s second highest stakeholder, Usmanov, the Russian Billionaire who owns a 30% stake. It was rumoured earlier in the week that Usmanov had made a £1 billion bid for Kroenke’s shares, in an attempt to make a takeover bid of the club.
The offer was likely rebuffed by Kroenke, who operates in the stocks and shares market as Kroenke Sports and Entertainment (KSE), which has left Arsenal fans disheartened that we won’t be seeing our potential saviour in Alisher Usmanov, coming to Arsenal’s aid soon. KSE made a brief but asserting statement soon after the news broke and it will leave the fans wondering if things will ever change in the near future.
A statement from KSE said: ‘KSE UK, Inc notes the recent media speculation concerning its shareholding in Arsenal Holdings PLC and confirms its shares are not, and never have been, for sale. KSE is a committed, long term investor in Arsenal and will remain so.’
Kroenke therefore holds a clear intention to remain involved with the Gunners for the long term future, despite not seeing rewards as he would probably hope. Kroenke clearly aims to generate income through the selling of players, rather than investing in Arsenal through his owned shareholder position at the club. He will also probably intend on buying out Usmanov one day and thus that they be why he is refusing to budge on the Russian’s £1 billion offer. The decision to rebuff Usmanov will be disheartening enough to Arsenal fans who desired a quick change in management this summer, and instead we could be seeing Kroenke’s methods in play for many more years to come.
Following on from the statement, investors such as Usmanov will now be considering whether it is worth sticking around at Arsenal, and risk a big decline in the club’s standing, much like Kroenke has seen with some of his other sports teams. Usmanov desires gaining ownership of the club one day, but time may be running out, and without any change at Arsenal, the Russian may look to offer his large investments elsewhere. Usmanov is estimated to hold twice the wealth as Kroenke and would thus offer the club something very different financially, to the current Kroenke approach the fans are used to.