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Alisher Usmanov has made a $1.3bn (£1bn) bid for near total control of Arsenal. The Russian billionaire, who holds a 30% stake in the club, indicated to Stan Kroenke, the majority shareholder, that he was willing to pay the sum to buy him out. The approach, which was made last month, values Arsenal at $2bn.
Yet Kroenke, who owns 67% after gradually building up his holding since 2007, is unwilling to contemplate the deal. He remains fully committed to the club and, even though Usmanov’s offer would net him a massive profit, he is not interested.
Usmanov, the metals magnate, has clashed with Kroenke over the direction of the club and he has suggested that the club’s senior management needs to take a firmer line. Arsenal have endured a turbulent season, in which they are likely to miss out on their traditional top-four finish, and the issue of whether the manager, Arsène Wenger, ought to continue into next season has polarised the fans.
Wenger’s contract expires in the summer and there has been no official comment on whether he will sign a new one. It is anticipated that he will. Kroenke has long been a staunch supporter of his.
“I do not think that the coach alone is to be blamed for what is happening,” Usmanov said last month. “Some continuity is needed. This includes the need to prepare a successor for Wenger, but in a very respectful way. I can suggest that Wenger himself can prepare a successor.”