Well, that’s nice. Alisher is one of us, according to the statement he released yesterday.
“I would like to assure supporters that I am open to various future scenarios – a constructive partnership with the majority shareholder; the purchase of his stake either alone or in a consortium or, if a party appears who share my and undoubtedly the majority of fans’ vision for the club, I could consider the question of selling my stake.”
Fair play to him. So often on the end of barbs on these and other pages about ill-timed PR statements, he nailed Kroenke firmly to the post of ‘Bad Guy’. Usmanov, at the moment, is ‘Less Bad Guy’, which given his murky past is some achievement.
The Uzbek denied talking to Kroenke about selling his shares, denied being in talks about selling his shares and pretty much stuck his middle finger up at the American. Nobody said he was in talks; the story has always been that Kroenke offered to buy Usmanov out. In fact, it was made clear no answer had been received.
And none has with this statement either.
Usmanov will sell his shares, in his words, if it’s in the best interests of Arsenal. That’s secondary to the best interests of Alisher Usmanov – as it would be for all of us in his shoes – but he knows he has KSE over a barrel on this offer. While they want his shares, he doesn’t have to sell.
Critical of the likelihood of taking Arsenal into the deep dark woods of Delaware if Kroenke owned the club outright, Usmanov has never ruled out burying a holding company in an obscure tax haven.
The Devil Deals the Cards
Except once again, the devil might well be in the detail.
Usmanov mentioned in his statement that he increased his shareholding to 30% in buying out Farhad Moshiri and that he wanted to buy more shares. His offer to Kroenke for buying the KSE shares valued Arsenal at £2bn; Kroenke’s opening offer put the club’s worth at £1.75bn. No doubt Stan was trying it on with his offer, to flush out Usmanov’s interest in selling. There’s his answer: £2bn plus a premium on top of that.
As I speculated yesterday, the question to answer is why does Kroenke need Arsenal now?
While most Arsenal fans would quite happily see the back of the pair and plurality of ownership, most Arsenal fans know that will never happen again. Unless we find a philanthropic multi-billionaire because they are as rare as unicorn sh*t.
I’m heartily fed up and sick to the back teeth of the ‘business’ overshadowing football. The club is stale at the top, on and off the pitch. Whilst an overhaul of ownership and senior positions can’t come soon enough, there’s no impetus for it to begin.
There are those who say ‘be careful what you wish for’. I wish for a peaceful life, one where Arsenal challenge on the pitch and off it, the execs keep the heads down all the while supporting the manager, coaches and players to achieve success. Peace, goodwill to all men, etc.; never happen.
Finally, a new post is live over at Dad’s Jukebox: Bandcamp A2Z begins with the letter ‘B’.