Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke rejected Alisher Usmanov’s £1billion takeover offer because he wants to remain in control of the club for the long term and is determined to restore Arsenal to being Premier League champions, as well as making them a force in Europe.
Sources close to Kroenke have said that the money he would have made isn’t an issue as he wants to see the club grow and wants to oversee future success.
Usmanov, a metals magnate who owns 30 per cent of Arsenal, made the offer earlier this month and though there has been no formal response, it is understood that Kroenke, who controls a 67 per cent stake, has rejected it.
When Kroenke originally took a controlling stake in the club in 2011 it was valued at £731m, and Usmanov’s offer valued it at £1.54bn but despite the increase, Kroenke wants to stay, which will mean overseeing the succession to Arsene Wenger in the next few years.
Last month, Usmanov said Kroenke was to blame for the club’s recent troubles. Arsenal are in danger of finishing outside the top four in the Premier League and failing to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in over 20 years.
“All the responsibility for the fate of the club rests with the main shareholder,” Usmanov told Bloomberg.
Forbes recently estimated Usmanov as the 66th richest man in the world with a net worth at $15.2bn, while listing Kroenke at 182nd with $7.5 billion.
Usmanov’s wealth is a source of frustration for many Arsenal fans, as the club has refused to tap into the tycoon’s vast resources to boost their purchasing power on the transfer market.
Usmanov has not been given a seat on the board and is being kept at arms length by the club. Kroenke, meanwhile, has drawn the ire of a large portion of the fan base for only taking money out of the club in past years while not using his own wealth to fund transfer spending in the same way Roman Abramovich has done at Chelsea.
Unlike rivals like Chelsea and Manchester City, Arsenal have insisted on running a self-sustaining financial model where they don’t spend more money than the club makes. But Arsenal’s struggles to compete both on the transfer market and on the pitch have led to increasing calls from fans to give Usmanov more influence over the club’s finances.