Billionaire owners of Arsenal, Alisher Usmanov and Stan Kroenke have been in a battle of wits and negotiations for full ownership of the London club.
Usmanov who owns 30% of the club wants a major share; Kroenke on the hand is unwilling to yield to the Russian oil tycoon’s tactic.
The Russian offered to buy-over the US Sports mogul’s 67% majority stake in Arsenal for NGN457Bn (£1bn) in May last year, an offer which Kroenke rejected and has left 64-year-old Usmanov frustrated.
Kroenke, the owner of multiple sports clubs including Denver Nuggets (NBA), Colorado Rapids (MLS), at the rejection of Usmanov’s offer, made a counter-offer to take-over his counterpart’s share for NGN249.5Bn (£525m).
Usmanov rejected the offer stating he was unwilling to sell as he is an ardent supporter of Arsenal.
“I have always been and will continue to be an ardent supporter of Arsenal and I see my 30 per cent stake as an important aspect in protecting the best interests of the fans in the club.”
Reports in British media disclosed by a close confidant of the Russian billionaire suggests deep frustration for him at the outcome of things and is now willing to sell.
A sale of ownership by either party is seen as the best solution to the impasse in the Arsenal boardroom.
Arsenal fans have kicked against the full ownership of the club by the American sports entrepreneur and urge Usmanov not to sell.
The pair bought into the club in 2007: Usmanov 14.6% for NGN35.6Bn (£75 million) and later increased to 30% in 2016 when he bought over the shares Farhad Moshiri who is now Everton owner.
Kroenke became majority shareholder in 2011.
A Spokesman for the Arsenal Supporters Trust, AST, said: “The AST would be very concerned at any outcome that saw the club wholly owned by Stan Kroenke.
“If he bought Alisher Usmanov’s shares, the likelihood is he would take the club private, forcing out the remaining custodian shareholders. This would reduce scrutiny in how Arsenal operate and allow its corporate structure to be moved to the United States. It would not be good for those who care about Arsenal being run the right way.
“Arsenal is too important to be owned by any one person and there should be a plurality of ownership, including supporters, involved in the club. There would be concern at the idea that Stan Kroenke has absolute control of Arsenal Football Club and the likelihood that its legal status would be transferred to the United States.”