Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Usmanov Still Interested in Arsenal Takeover

Alisher Usmanov, the disliked Russian billionaire who has been linked with Arsenal takeover talks, has finally admitted that he is interested in taking over the club.

The Metalloinvest and Red and White owner had previously stated that he only wanted to raise his stake to 25% of the club (he currently owns 23%), but he has now admitted that he would jump at the chance to launch a takeover bid.

Any takeover would likely be hostile, seeing as how the clubs board of directors (who together own 45% of the club) has stated that they will not sell their shares for at least one year. However, Usmanov says that he would only buy at a reasonable price, and if Arsenal's top shareholders agree to sell.

Having already bought David Dein's shares at market price, and other shares at far over their value, it seems as though the Russian businessman may be planning a takeover quite soon.

He is unlikely to succeed though, as Arsenal are currently the second biggest earners in club football, thanks in large part to the new Emirates Stadium. Without a need for Dein's money, and with a frugal manager Arsenal don't seem to be in any danger of becoming the next Chelski.