Thursday, August 30, 2007

David Dein sells his shares of Arsenal to Red and White

David Dein, the former vice-chairman of Arsenal, today held a press conference in which he stated that he had sold his 14.58% stake in the club to Red and White. Red and White, jointly owned by Russian businessman Aliser Ushmanov and London-based investor Farhad Moshiri, purchased the shares for £75million, and instated Dein as its chairman. Dein has reported that there is no "current intention" to mount a takeover bid, but there have reportedly been funds set aside by Red and White to purchase more shares of the club.

Dein, who had been an important figure at Arsenal prior to leaving the club, has said that this move does not mean that he is losing interest in the club.

"I have not lost my passion for the club; indeed, it is greater than ever. My ambition remains to play an active role in Arsenal again. My immediate intention is to work with others to provide the financial resources necessary to turn the vision of Arsenal as the world's number one club into reality."

Arsenal managing director Keith Edelman has stated that the board of directors (which together controls a 45% stake in the club) will hold firm to its earlier agreement that no stocks will be sold for a year after Dein's departure, and is confident that their share is enough to hold off any attempted takeover bid.

However, it is speculated that Red and White could team up with American billionaire Stan Kroenke who controls around 30% of the club. If they were to join together they would control a total almost equal to the 45% that the board shares. This would let them make some major decisions in the club, even though it would not be enough to launch a takeover.

I think that this move is a good one on Dein's part. First of all it will encourage Arsene Wenger to re-sign, as one of the major reasons for the rumors of his departure was the fact that Dein had left the club. If Dein and Kroenke (and Red and White) were to purchase Arsenal, it would be under foreign control, following the suit of many other major Premiership teams, including Manchester United and of course Chelsea. This would inject a large amount of cash into the clubs coffers and most definitely allow for some high-profile signings, although with Arsene at the helm, we are unlikely to buy anyone overpriced. I think overall, having David Dein back would make any takeover a good move for Arsenal.