Alisher Usmanov stages $1.3bn attempt to take control of Arsenal Football Club

The Russian billionaire has in recent weeks reportedly offered to buy out majority shareholder Stan Kroenke according to sources close to the deal.

Alisher Usmanov stages $1.3bn attempt to take control of Arsenal Football Club
Stan Kroenke is the current majority shareholder, but Usmanov (above) wants control | Photo: Epsilon via Getty Images

Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov has once again returned to the Arsenal negotiating table, with reports indicating his desire to buy out current majority shareholder Stan Kroenke.

The Financial Times report that Usmanov, 63 - already a 30% stake owner of The Gunners - conveyed an offer in writing of his desire to take full control of the club to current 'owner' and US sports mogul Kroenke.

Kroenke yet to respond

News emerged late on Friday of Alisher Usmanov's intentions in a move made last month, which valued the club at approximately $2bn.

Despite not having formally responded, Kroenke is understood to have not ruled any offer out completely, but more recently has informally suggested he is not interested in selling the North London club to Mr. Usmanov, or indeed any other interested parties.

The FT cites an individual close to the situation stating that "two weeks ago" they thought something could "realistically happen", however now they were "not so sure"

Usmanov interest re-ignited

There is little love lost between the two feuding Arsenal shareholders. The Uzbek-born Russian steel magnate, who is worth an estimated £10.65bn, has stated his concern with a lack of investment by the Texan, who himself continues to acquire land of his own across the United States.

With the future of manager Arsène Wenger yet to be determined, Usmanov has himself said the Frenchman should not take sole responsibility for the club's poor performance this season, adding the board, including Stan Kroenke, must take responsibility also.

With unrest on and off the field - despite Arsenal's late season surge to scrape back into the top four places and retain Champions League football next season - tension amongst fans has reached breaking point with many suggesting both Wenger and the board as a whole should walk away.

Russian's growing interest

Usmanov retains a significant chunk of his wealth that led The Sunday Times rich list in May 2014 to place the Russian as the second richest person in the UK.

Since initially taking a 14.58% share of the Gunners in 2007, he and his own business partner Farhad Moshiri - now owner of Everton - bought a stake in the club from then-chairman David Dein for £75m.

Dein was then appointed head of Red and White Holdings to which then went on to gain the full 30% in the club currently.

Kroenke's stance on Arsene Wenger's continued stewardship is unwavering, however with reports CEO Ivan Gazidis has suggested changes need to be made, might Kroenke yet be forced out of the club?


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