Arsenal’s second biggest investor, Alisher Usmanov, has denied widespread reports that he is holding talks with majority shareholder Stan Kroenke about selling his 30% stake in the club.
Reports had earlier stated that Kroenke, who owns 67% of the shares, has made a bid to buy out Usmanov’s stake but 64-year old Usmanov has played down those reports and that his interest in Arsenal is “long term”.
He made this known via a statement. In his words, he said:
“I see my 30% stake as an important aspect in protecting the best interests of the fans in the club.
“My interest in Arsenal from the beginning was long term and my intention has always been to buy additional shares should they become available,” Usmanov said.
“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 shares my and undoubtedly the majority of fans’ vision for the club, I could consider the question of selling my stake.” he further added.
Usmanov has been highly critical of Kroenke for Arsenal’s failings on the pitch and is not part of the board or the decision-making at Arsenal despite him being the second majority shareholder at the club. He made a £1bn bid to take of the control earlier in May but it was rejected by Kroenke.
Alisher Usmanov bought his first shares at Arsenal in August 2007 before the aforementioned Kroenke took majority control of the club a year later.