Alisher Usmanov assures Arsenal fans he will not sell shares to Stan Kroenke
Alisher Usmanov has moved to assure Arsenal fans he is not in talks to sell his 30 per cent stake in the club to majority shareholder Stan Kroenke.
Reports on Tuesday suggested Kroenke Sports Enterprise UK were set to offer some £525million to buy the 18,695 shares held by Usmanov's Red and White Securities Limited.
Kroenke owns a 67 percent stake in the London club.
Despite being the club's second largest individual shareholder, Usmanov, 64, has not been given a seat on the board.
"I see my 30% stake as an important aspect in protecting the best interests of the fans in the club," said Usmanov.
"My interest in Arsenal from the beginning was long term and my intention has always been to buy additional shares should they become available," said Usmanov, who made a £1billion bid to take control of the club in May only to be rejected by American businessman Kroenke.
"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."
Usmanov has been critical of Arsenal's failure on the pitch, and was urged by the Arsenal Supporters' Trust not to sell his 30 per cent stake to majority shareholder Stan Kroenke in a bid to avoid the club falling into single ownership.
"The AST continues to believe that Arsenal is too important to be owned by any one person. The best ownership model for Arsenal will always include supporters being represented and involved in the ownership structure as shareholders," said the AST in a statement.
"We understand the reality that any stake in Arsenal is available to buy at any time should someone make an acceptable bid, but we will oppose any attempt to buy the club outright and take it into single ownership."