Alisher Usmanov – Folk Hero

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’.

’til Tomorrow.

58 thoughts on “Alisher Usmanov – Folk Hero

  1. “I will continue to be an ardent supporter of Arsenal and I see my 30 percent stake as an important aspect in protecting the best interests of the fans n the club”

    *coughs* Bullshit *coughs*

    As I said in the post, it’s a tick in the PR wins column for him but Usmanov, a folk hero? Him and Kroenke can both folk off as far as I’m concerned.

  2. Talking of Arsenal folk heros, let’s not forget who introduced these two ‘characters’ to Arsenal: David Dein.

    YW I agree with your reasoning behind Kroenke needing Arsenal for the leverage aspect, but if he’s getting desperate why is he not offering more? Has he been consulting the King of the Big Deal Arsene? “Offer him £1.75 billion plus £1!

  3. YW,

    Usmanov has had ample opportunities to sell his shares to Kroenke but has steadfastly refused to do so. Not many people, very rich or poor, would turn down an offer of £525 million unless they had a very good reason for doing so.

    By holding on to his shares he is certainly not doping any harm to Arsenal’s supporters. I, for one, am grateful to him for preventing Kroenke from gaining total control.

    It is surely preferable to have him

  4. Personally, I could not give a toss what the motives of these two are – it’s enough to understand that whatever those motives are the wants/desires/wishes of the fans are unimportant to either of them, other than being hapless cash cows. Moo

  5. Trying to type on this tablet in sunshine is bloody difficult.

    Doing! not doping.

    Delete “it is surely preferable to have him”

  6. Pete the Thirst,

    The funny thing about Keown’s statement is that he has essentially been laying into Ozil since he arrived. the other thing is that he talks about Sanchez yet Ozil was at training all summer and played in the pre-season and early in the season prior to having his current knee issues. Sure Ozil has stayed quiet but I just think its funny how Keown lays into Ozil but all summer it was Sanchez who was the problem child wanting to leave and making all the noise about leaving.

    O and I’m sorry and maybe I’m in the minority on this but defensively we were good against Chelsea but we didn’t have a single shot on goal (if memory serves) in the 2nd half so really good attacking performance, well lets not exaggerate the performance on the attacking side.

  7. Pete the Thirst,

    Keown really doesn’t like Ozil. I don’t think he’s got that ‘blood and guts’ attitude that Keown likes from players. I know Ozil is a high quality player, but I agree with Bill that he does seem to have tapered off for Arsenal. If the perceived view is that he has been let down by the quality of the striker he has to work with, he should be desperate to play in the same team as Lacazette. Surely Ozil wants to put himself in the shop window this season to crank up his sign-on fee, so getting game time and delivering when he is on the pitch must be crucial to his future financial arrangements. I cannot see anyone wanting to pay him £300k a week at the moment. If he would find it easier to strut his stuff in less physical leagues, his performances will look all the more impressive if he cranks it up in the PL.

  8. Good stuff Yogi!

    Back to Arsenal for me after finding out my mate was well and fine out in Vegas.

    Personally, both of them can fuck off but I do think that Usmanov holding out is good for Arsenal and to be honest him telling Silent Stan to fuck off with the money offered is job well done. I do agree though, its a shame that Gooners and those in the world of Arsenal seem to spend just as much time talking finances and business as they do futbol.

  9. Wavey,

    Spot on, I think the problem Keown has is the blood and guts part of it all. In his comment he almost seems to give Sanchez a pass because Sanchez gives you that blood and guts but fails to remember if there was one player that mentally checked out over the summer it was Sanchez to the point that it affected his Chilean teammates (if you haven’t read the quotes by them you should because all of them talk about Sanchez’s desperation to leave Arsenal and how it seemed very likely he was contemplating forcing his way out). The problem with Ozil has been and always will be his languid style of play. I mean think about this, he was tied or close with Sanchez for most interceptions and tackles in the attacking third yet because he doesn’t always look like he is trying he gets pounded.

  10. folk hero can folk off 🙂

    Very good post and some excellent comments. I cannot possibly imagine why those 2 – Usmanov and Kroenke want the Arsenal for. Both mega rich, both hugely unpopular at the club, both with little interest in footy. Then why? Surely there are better ways of making money if you already have shitloads

    Usmanov is competing with Abra, that’s for sure. But the ugly Yank with a tupee? Hell knows. Someone must have told him it’s a sound investment, who though? The Glaziers?

  11. C:
    Pete the Thirst,
    Sure Ozil has stayed quiet but I just think its funny how Keown lays into Ozil but all summer it was Sanchez who was the problem child wanting to leave and making all the noise about leaving.

    I much prefer Sanchez’s behavior. At least he gave us the option of selling him and getting something in return. With Ozil we had no option of cashing in on him. We are stuck with Ozil’s fat contract, his lackadaisical attitude, his ‘weak’ knees for a year and then he walks away for free. Personally I’d have offloaded all of Sanchez. Ozil and the Ox. Arsene hasn’t placed enough emphasis on ‘team’ and placed to much emphasis on cobbling together a collection of skilled technical players but ultimately we lack warriors with commitment. Not suggesting Sanchez isn’t a warrior, just that Ozil is not.

  12. What puzzles me is that both Stan and Usmanov have no intention of selling their shares and know this. So why do they waste their times with these types of public declarations? you’d think they have more pressing matters to attend to.

  13. Good to know Usmanov won’t sell, I would rather have Usmanov as the majority shareholder than Kroenke.

  14. philmar,

    I get and know that most people will prefer Sanchez’s attitude over Ozil’s and personally I don’t mind either of them. The overall point I was making was that Keown is so quick to point out that Ozil has checked out but the thing about what he is saying fails to take into account that over the course of the whole summer it was crystal clear that Sanchez wanted out to the point that it even affected his national team. For me, since his arrival, Ozil’s languid style has been a problem for the vast majority who prefer a different style, but to say that he doesn’t care or that continued narrative for me is madness when you consider that when he is on the pitch you can see that he is visibly upset when something doesn’t come off for him or the fact that you see him pointing to players to tell them what he was thinking when he made a pass or move. At the end of the day, Ozil will always be berated in England and the PL for his style of play because its not what English futbol is all about. The one thing that I do know is that prior to his arrival we couldn’t win fuck all and when he arrived we lifted silverware and he was a key part in that. Now, we performed well defensively against Chelsea and had a ‘meh’ match last time out even though we picked up the 3 points. I would venture to say that it wouldn’t matter who played for Arsenal because of the current culture that starts with Silent Stan and Arsene as opposed to the players.

  15. well said C. I love Ozil, he is probably too good for the team, well above the rest in terms of vision, skills and ability. Santi and Bellerin are my favourite players because I like short Spanish midfielders, but Mezut is sheer class, the only world class player we have

  16. philmar,

    They are just a pair of dick-wangers, bragging about who has the most.

    Both repugnant. Neither liked. Unfortunately, it’s better to have two of them at logger-heads, than have one with total control.

  17. OK

    > Not many people, very rich or poor, would turn down an offer of £525 million unless they had a very good reason for doing so.

    Kroenke’s £525m values Arsenal at £1.75bn
    Usmanov’s offer to buy Kroenke put the club at £2bn.

    This means Stan’s valuation of Arsenal is adrift by £275m or to put it into context, close to another £100m extra in Usmanov’s pocket. Maybe it’s just me but that seems to qualify as a very good reason.

  18. Stu:

    They are just a pair of dick-wangers, bragging about who has the most.

    Both repugnant. Neither liked. Unfortunately, it’s better to have two of them at logger-heads, than have one with total control.

    I agree with you there is noway either should be in charge, arsenal cold war in full effect with no signs to an end, they both despise each other they are both despicable loathsome characters. Things are FUBAR’d at the highest level with us at the moment. Lets hope the football can distract us from rest of the BS…

  19. Great post Yogi

    I know that my preference is partly driven by the grass is always greener syndrome but I would much rather see Usmanov as our owner. With Stan I think we can be reasonably confident that Arsene will be our manager for as long as Arsene wants to manage which I suspect will be at least until 2025. Once Arsene decides to hang up the track suit and stop being a field manager I think he will move into the board room. I doubt that Usmanov would allow that to happen.

  20. Keown is not a mind reader but clearly he has contacts and he knows more about what is happening then we do and we can’t just dismiss his thoughts as rubbish. Like it or not where there is smoke there is usually fire. More likely then not attitude has to be part of the problem. The cause of decreased production is probably multifactorial but more important the actual reason is not relevant. You can tolerate a lackadaisical attitude if the player produces. A fantastic attitude is certainly better then the converse but a great atttitude is not helpful if the player can’t produce. We now have a large sample size and for whatever reason Ozil has not been producing for Arsenal and I am skeptical that Mesut still has the mental and physical energy to turn that around.

  21. out of curiosity – why are both Kroenke and Usmanov “despicable loathsome characters” ? I don’t like Stan because he is holding the Club back, but Usmanov??

  22. Eddie,

    Ozil is class but I think its more about his style and body language that most have a problem with. Its sort of strange to me that a player that succeeded at Madrid, is a fixture is Lowe’s German side is questioned so much. I do think its down to body language and style of play.

  23. I think you need a bit more of a motivational edge when you are asked to play in a high energy rough and tumble league such as the PL. It’s not ideal but its certainly understandable for a player who has played on great teams most of his career and won lots of big trophies and made more money then any of us can imagine to lose a bit of that mental edge when you in the final year of a contract and you are looking at a season where the ceiling is probably competing for 4th place and hopefully making another run at the FA cup.

  24. Here’s a question, if Ozil does got to Manure and flourish again under Mourinho, would that be an indictment on Arsene and Arsenal or would people still kill Ozil?

  25. C

    Do you completely dismiss the possibility that things can change for any player as they get older and their situation and the teams around them change? It does not matter what happened with Madrid because that was a long time ago and the team situation and the team mentality is a completely different dynamic with Germany. Its also important to remember that there are only a couple games per month for Germany and its easier to get mentally up for a couple of games especially when you get to play the majority of games against teams that you know you will be able to dominate.

  26. I have my doubts about the integrity of any billionaire, that said, as it stands we have the “choice” of 2 at the moment. Unless there is someone else in the background with sufficient folding stuff, it boils down the which is the least desirable. Stan and his average franchises, whose greed is something else or AU who I believe would want to compete and win on the big stage. Whilst hardly an ideal situation, its what we have, so I would come down on the Uzbek side.

  27. This is surely an admission that Özil is under performing at Arsenal?

    Here’s a question, if Ozil does got to Manure and flourish again under Mourinho, would that be an indictment on Arsene and Arsenal or would people still kill Ozil?

  28. On Özil, he is the most talented player we have. However, as most people know here, I’m not a fan of him in this team. Not because he’s not blood and guts nor because I think he should defend more (he’s an attacker!) but because I think he’s ineffective in our attack. He rarely scores, or doesn’t score as much as he should do. Goes missing in big games and is easily nullified. I do t buy into the thought that he needs good players around him to look good. I’d look okay with messi or ronaldo to pass to to finish things off for me. He might fit somewhere but I think his style of play
    In modern English football is, for now, dead

  29. Ozil is class – gifted, genius – brilliant. But when your heart isn’t in it, who cares? He’s now missing games from minor aliments. But he’s a luxury player. He doesn’t elevate others through sheer inspiration. He provides great passes to teammates that make the selfless runs in to danger areas – it helps if others are doing the same and drawing other defenders away. But that isn’t this team. His brilliance is not best suited to us.
    He is weak defensively. My biggest beef is he is playing out his contract, his heart isn’t in it. The rest of the players know it. His walking away leaves the team in a financial bind. For that reason I’d have preferred if he’d angled for a move so that we could have sold him and invested in players that other teams hate playing against.
    Football is a team sport, not a showcase of 11 talented show ponies. As good as Ozil is we could get by without him…..what happens if Koscielny ruptures ligaments or Monreal breaks a leg? Are we going to finish top 4 or win the Europa League with Holding playing each game?
    We’re almost 20% in to the season and how much impact have either Sanchez or Ozil had?
    I just think we’d have been better cashing in on them and rebuild with others.

  30. yeah, Craig Murray says that Usmanov is this and that, and without having a clue who Craig Murray is we believe him. No, you do, I don’t. It might very well be all true, but it is equally plausible that it’s bullshit.
    Having said that I like him even less than before, call me a fickle character

  31. philmar,

    Ozil is all that. But he’s always been a luxury player. When we play at our fluid best you won’t find another capable of his range and vision. Problem there is we’re at our best about 10% of the time these days. Our issue is balance, we don’t have it and haven’t in years. We filled our midfield with these little talented nippy players which gave us wengerball, but defence was shocking so all it took was a bit of muscleand we folded. We’ve been sold the idea that we don’t need a CDM, which, in part, being a strength and Conditioning coach for athletes I can agree with, size doesn’t necessarily transition into strength etc so I get that point but we DO need someone physical biomechanically speaking. Kolasinac is physical and he’s changed that left side completely. Imagine we did that centrally…. Thats where we lack balance. Ramsey, Jack, el neny, Xhaka, Ozil, Iwobi…. All aren’t not, in a mechanical sence, strong. So here is the problem, you’ve got a player who is gifted with range and vision playing beside players who 80% of the time will opt for a safe sideways pass. Even on the break, I saw us 3 on 2 vs Brighton and we stopped, held it up and passed it sideways then back to Bellerin at RB…. There is no confidence that we can play at our best and win right now. Ozil is our best player when we’re playing at our best, which as I said above is about 10% of a game right now. He’s checked out mentality imo, I think he’ll join Man u and Sanchez will join City. Ozil in a balanced team is lethal. Arsenal don’t offer this. We’ve too many weak areas that are exploited week in week out that aren’t addressed and Ozil takes the brunt of blame because of his style.

    This is why I’m wenger out. We lose our best because we show faith to inconsistent players.

  32. Bill,

    I don’t dismiss it at all actually and I actually noted that at present, under Silent STan and Arsene, are there really any players that have flourished as we all thought that they would and that includes the likes of Cesc, Sanchez and RvP? The thing with Ozil is that I think a large portion of most folks ‘problem’ with him is his body language and languid style. When he was at his best, was his languid style a ‘problem’; ofcourse not especially when Arsenal were bossing matches and lifting the FA Cup, its when situations arise that it becomes a problem. When he was playing superbly in the FA Cup, nobody banged on about his attitude or he wasn’t producing.

    Honestly, mate, I don’t think there is anymore to discuss, I think we both stand were we stand.

  33. philmar,

    Sorry, main point is I agree. Ozil and sanchez could have been sold for around 50-70m or more if we tapped the psg party bus. With hat, we could have invested in players Wenger wanted such as Lamar and Neri etc and they’d have given more to us now than both sanchez and Ozil have. I’m still shocked we sold Gabriel, I really don’t get it… He was average but still better than a young Holding. I fear Kos will get injured and we’ll be forced to play Nacho or Kolasinac at back. As with every other season, we’re 3/4 short of a proper challenge.

    They should he heartless and ruthless. Santi, el neny, coq all go. If I was being ruthless, I’d ask is Ramsey the best arsenal can get in that position? Course he isn’t. He doesn’t even have a set position which is ludicrous. Jack as well, are we ever going to get Jack back to his best? No. Because we don’t know his best becaude he’s been injured so long. He was touted as attacking mid, then slightly defensive mid, then a old school CM…. He’s OK at all but a master of none.

  34. well done YW, Craig Murray is a tool himself and possibly has a grudge against Usmanov. I said it before, but I had friends jailed in Poland for nothing under the commie regime, so anyone doing time in Russia could be a freedom fighter for what we know. That’s it Uzbeki Nelson Mandela

  35. MesutsLeftFoot,

    Absolutely brilliant post!

    I think the most laughable comment I have continually seen from Gooners EVERYWHERE is this notion that because of Ozil we are continually countered on and his playing in an advanced role leaves us vulnerable defensively. For me, its literally the strangest thing for Arsenal right now that I have heard given he is playing as a front 3 which means there are literally 8 other players defensively who are actually there to play defense.

    O well, at this point in his Arsenal career most have dug in without taking into account that the same problems that we have now: defensive pivots and defending in general where there before Ozil arrived and as long as Arsene is here will be there when Ozil (and Sanchez) leave. So then the question becomes, is it Ozil or is it the system and manager?

  36. MesutsLeftFoot,

    All your questions come down to ultimately one person who seems to rule the club.

    Honestly, I know hindsight is 20/20 but say we sold Giroud or Theo for 20m like was being advertised, we buy Seri for 30m or Tolisso (Bayern got him on the cheap because he will be one of the best CM’s in Europe soon) for 40m to solidify our midfield . The other thing is, if Ox was on his way out, why couldn’t or didn’t he get sold earlier and bring in Lemar or Seri or Tolisso or the pleathora of other CM’s that we needed in midfield to help bring us balance?

  37. MesutsLeftFoot,

    Yes, those are the thoughts that my inarticulate brain tried (failed) to formulate. He fits in well with a gang of talented German National team players or Real galacticos. He may have a few great games this year if he can develop an understanding with Lacazette who is more energetic and mobile than Giroud. Problem is that he may not be motivated enough to do the extra work to improve his understanding with Lacazette.

  38. Oh, yes, Özil, bursting out of Arsenal training ground, sulking on the bench when out, throwing his gloves and laughing whe his team loses! Yes, Özil’s attitude has been a shame for Arsenal! Oh, wait…. no, it can’t have been Sanchez. Or? Or maybe this is the attitude you accept from your so called world class Chilean player?
    And nobody on Chamberlain? How good was he today? How stubborn Wenger was to insist on hillfor the start of the season. The player around whom a team must be built!
    Talking defense, how come Ramsey was ahead of Lacazette for Stoke’s goal? Oh, yes, it was Özil, the only one who tracked back!

  39. Did anyone watch the England game? Wish I hadn’t bothered. Utter shite. Ox looks like he’s gone backwards since joining Liverpool.

  40. Yes, at least you got to watch it and can forget about it. I’ve got to write about it tomorrow.

    No, wait; it’s Stone Cold Friday tomorrow. Having a kip…!!!

  41. C,

    Balance is something that we will never have under wenger. He is not defensive minded, he’s of the they score 1 we score 3 or 4. Moving to Emirates meant did mean we couldn’t spend as much, we didn’t anticipate oil cash coming into play but did it. However, it’s a ludicrous notion that we didn’t spend because we couldn’t afford players, are we really going to believe that our scouting system couldn’t pick up players we needed cheaper? We’ve literally spent 10 years cultivating average players like Ramsey, Ox, Jack, Coq, Song and all the rest. We’ve been blessed with talent like Cesc, RVP, Nasri, Ozil, sanchez but problem has always been the same, we are as strong as our weakest link, which in every scenario is 4/5 weakest links at once. No wonder the top players leave, we’ve no balance which is generally OK against smaller teams but against big ones we get smashed and they get blamed for it. Every year, we’re 3/4 away from being competitive. We bring in a world class players but have no system to accommodate them properly. EVERYONE knows Ozil is a luxury, so why, after 4 years have we never addressed the issue of a strong midfielder who sits back and allows the passers to play? Ridiculous. frustrating and tedious.

  42. Adam Singh,

    I can’t tell if he’s lost confidence or showing what he’s actually capable of…. I mean let’s be honest, he hasn’t developed at all. If anything he went backwards because when he broke into team he took on players to beat them…. Now he will get tackled 9/10 or passes it sideways or backwards. Arsenal’s fault maybe, or perhaps just another England youth overhyped by media.

  43. I completely agree with the general consensus about Ox, Ozil and Sanchez. He has developed into a player he promised to be, no, he was regressing in his career. How many times he was playing out of position, looking like a lost lamb, useless, ineffective. A neighbour is a great admirer of Ox and told me he was better than Ramsey and Theo together. What bullshit. I don’t wish the lad ill and hope he will develop under Klopp, but somehow I doubt this is going to be the case.

    Ozil is just beautiful, so graceful, silky, composed. He won us trophies, I have no doubt that was key to our FA success.

    Sanchez…he never grew on me. He works hard, delivers, loves playing, but he smacks me as a bit of a thicko. The rolling of his shorts up, the semi naked photos, being greedy on the pitch. Nay, not classy Ozil, TH14 or even van Judas. He can go, but Wenger must buy another striker. Both Ollie and Lacazette are possibly past their best; we need a powerfull, young and hungry forward.

  44. In the Telegraph’s player ratings for last night’s England game Oxlade-Chamberlain was awarded just three marks. A lost lamb? That’s being kind to him.

  45. Eddie, Eddie calm down, beautiful, silky, graceful: rolled up shorts, semi-naked photos: powerful , young and hungry. Careful girl, you’ll do yourself a mischief! 😎

  46. oh shit Orson, you are right 🙂 What am I thinking of?? Dirty old woman me 🙂

    But yes, I cannot deny having a crush on Mezut. He looks like a doll, so perfectly proportioned, lean, strong…supreme build.

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