Usmanov refuses to sell stake in Arsenal; offer to buy club stands

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Mike Egerton - EMPICS / PA Images / Getty

Stan Kroenke's alleged plan to buy out Alisher Usmanov is news to the Arsenal minority stakeholder.

The Russian billionaire, Arsenal's second-largest shareholder, refuted a report suggesting Kroenke had launched a £525-million bid, which would see the American businessman increase his ownership in the club from 67 percent to 97 percent.

The prospect of Usmanov selling his stake to Kroenke triggered fear among some supporters, and even former players such as Ian Wright.

Instead, Usmanov revealed there's been no discussion with Kroenke and reaffirmed his intention to keep his stake in the club.

"I can understand the anxiety that these rumours are causing to the fans as reflected by the Arsenal Supporters Trust," he said. "In light of this, I would like to be clear that I am not holding any talks with Mr Kroenke about a sale."

(Photo courtesy: Action Images)

Usmanov also confirmed a report from earlier in the year claiming that he'd launched £1-billion bid to buy the club. The 64-year-old restated that buying the club outright remains a goal and that the offer is still on the table.

"My interest in Arsenal from the beginning was long term and my intention has always been to buy additional shares should they become available," he continued.

"This I did with the purchase of the stake of my business partner Farhad Moshiri with which I increased my shareholding from 15 percent to 30 percent, and also with my proposed offer for the stake of the majority shareholder which valued the Club at some £2 billion. That offer remains valid today."

Usmanov's full statement, obtained by Rob Harris of the Associated Press, reads:

In recent days there has been speculation relating to a possible offer for my 30 percent stake in Arsenal. As part of that I can understand the anxiety that these rumours are causing to the fans as reflected by the Arsenal Supporters Trust. In light of this, I would like to be clear that I am not holding any talks with Mr Kroenke about a sale. My interest in Arsenal from the beginning was long term and my intention has always been to buy additional shares should they become available. This I did with the purchase of the stake of my business partner Farhad Moshiri with which I increased my shareholding from 15 percent to 30 percent, and also with my proposed offer for the stake of the majority shareholder which valued the Club at some £2 billion. That offer remains valid today. I have always been and will continue to be an ardent supporter of Arsenal and I see my 30 percent stake as an important aspect in protecting the best interests of the fans in the Club. It has been well documented that I have no say in the running of the club, that my views differ from those of the majority shareholder and that I would take a different approach to delivering footballing success. 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.