Usmanov, who is the joint owner of Red & White Holding Limited, yesterday increased his stakes of Arsenal to above 27%. The Russian first made his presence known on English soils in April 2010, when he bought the 15.9% up for sale from former director, Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith and her family. Ever since, he has surely but slowly bought more and more shares closing in on that 29.99% hold of Arsenal which is needed before a formal take over can be achieved. But the question remains, is Usmanov looking to actually take full control of Arsenal Football Club?
When he first came into association with Arsenal, he firmly stated that a formal take over was not an agenda and that he and his people here a committed long-term investor in the club. However it seems that his agenda may have had some alterations made, with him saying in December that he is looking to buy up a ‘blocking state’ of 29.99% and then they will just keep looking for more. Is this a hint that Arsenal may be subject of change behind closed doors?
For Alisher Usmanov to have full control of the Gunners it will require him to buy out the next major shareholder Danny Fiszman who holds 16% of shares. Fiszman has been a part of the Arsenal set up for over a decade now, is believed to be worth around £236million, making his fortunes in the diamond industry.
With the possibility of a formal takeover, can Arsenal fans now anticipate following in the footsteps off Chelsea and Manchester City, spending hundreds of millions in achieving squads full of world class players. With a trophy less last six years, being dumped out of three competitions this month and the hopes of winning the Premier League being dented by a draw against a struggling West Brom side, maybe the fans will be hoping that a formal take over will stimulate success.
But it remains to be seen that even if a takeover is achieved, it is almost certain that Arsene Wegner will choose to continue to trust and follow his arrogant ways of developing this young, arguably talented squad (which has won absolutely nothing) and ignore the funds available to bring in some much needed leaders to make sure they can be consistent like Manchester United and Chelsea.
If the Russian is serious about a takeover bid, it will be highly unlikely that any movements will be made before the end of the season, but if Wenger fails to land the Premier League title this year, continuing their six year trophy drought, and Usmanov is successful in his formal offer (properly in the summer), will he demand for change in staff? and bring in someone that is prepared to spend his millions that he has to offer and make his investment worthwhile?