Arab consortium ‘eyes Arsenal’

An Arab consortium is considering making a ?1.5billion bid for

Arsenal in the near future, according to reports.

The Sun on Sunday and Sunday Telegraph have both reported the

interest, with funds for the bid said to be coming from Qatar and

the United Arab Emirates in the next few weeks.

American Stan Kroenke is the club’s majority shareholder, while

Uzbek Alisher Usmanov also holds a significant stake.

The offer for Arsenal would reportedly see the potential

investors bid around ?20,000 per share, making Kroenke’s holding

alone worth ?830million.

Sources close to the Arsenal board insisted on Sunday morning

that there had been no approach, informal or otherwise, to Kroenke,

who remains “in it for the long term”.

Kroenke pushed through his ?430million-plus takeover in April

2011, and now holds 66.83% of the club to give him overall

control.

The Kroenke Sports Enterprise Group has a history of sustained

involvement in all of his sporting interests in the United States,

which include the Denver Nuggets of the NBA and the Colorado

Avalanche in the NHL, as well as Major League Soccer club the

Colorado Rapids.

Uzbek oil magnate Alisher Usmanov remains Arsenal’s second

largest shareholder with a 29.96% holding, but does not currently

have a seat on the board.

Reports suggest that, if successful in a potential takeover, the

consortium – said to be backed by funds from Qatar and the United

Arab Emirates – would be ready to work with Usmanov’s Red &

White Holdings to help drive the Gunners back to the top of

European football, vowing to slash ticket prices and stop the sale

of star players such as former captains Robin van Persie and Cesc

Fabregas.

Arsenal, who have not won a trophy since the 2005 FA Cup, head

to north-London rivals Tottenham this afternoon looking to boost

their hopes of finishing in the top four, and securing Champions

League qualification once again under manager Arsene Wenger – who

has long championed the club’s self-sustaining policy and the need

for UEFA’s new Financial Fair Play regulations.