Wenger: Jack will win 100 caps

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


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


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.

Wilshere, 21, returned from more than a year out injured in

October, but is already being heralded as an integral part of the

future hopes of both club and country.

Arsenal head to Tottenham on Sunday, where they will come up

against in-form Welshman Gareth Bale, who has drawn comparisons

with Europe’s best after his match-winning performances this


Wenger believes his own talented midfielder has everything ahead

of him.

“Bale is the flavour of the moment. When you look at Wilshere,

who will deny that this guy will get 100 caps for England? Nobody,

if he has no injury,” said Wenger.

“My worry is not to compare Wilshere with anyone else. My only

worry when you are a footballer player of that talent is to become

as good as you can become.

“That is the only thing that is of interest to me. I leave the

comparisons to other people. My job is to get the best out of


Wenger feels it is sometimes overlooked just how much Wilshere

has achieved since arriving at the club aged nine.

“You tend to forget how old he is when you see him play. You

never come out of a game and think ‘this guy is 21 years old’. He’s

at a stage where the others have not started,” said Wenger.

“You think of Jack (as) an established player in the Premier

League and at international level, that is still something


Wenger feels Wilshere will develop into Arsenal’s natural

leader. He continued: “Jack breathes football. He doesn’t talk too

much, but he understands everything

“What he has exceeded is the speed of his physical fitness in

the game. Honestly, I never expected that.”

Wilshere has yet to score in the Premier League this season, but

Wenger feels that the goals will soon come.

“I believe it’s part of his development to play a bit more

advanced,” the Arsenal boss said.

“In some games, he is more comfortable deeper. I believe he has

a little dribble that can get him through in the final third and

the finishing will come.

“He’s a bit in a situation like (Cesc) Fabregas was for a while.

He said to me ‘but I cannot score goals’, however you could see

that it would come.

“Jack doesn’t talk about it, but who doesn’t want to score

goals? He is more a team player than a goalscorer.

“He will never be a goalscorer, but he can be capable to


Arsenal head across north London defending a five-match unbeaten

run, with three victories on the bounce, as they look to move back

to just one point behind their rivals.

Wenger accepts there are no longer any margins for error if his

team at to secure another top-four finish.

“It is still open, but I am realistic and we cannot drop

points,” he said.

“One or two of the other teams will always win over the weekend.

If we drop points we can fall quickly behind.

“So there are two things we cannot do – drop points and also

speculate over the weaknesses of our opponents because that can be

deadly as well.”