Perhaps ominously for Gooners who are quite content with the status quo, podgy Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov has increased his stake in Arsenal to 23%, just a week after saying he wanted at least a 25% share in the club. If Usmanov, who frankly looks not very much like Harold Bishop from Neighbours, gets to 30%, he then has to make a takeover offer for Arsenal. The purchase is reported to have cost the billionaire roughly Â£6m, at Â£10,000 a share.
Nothing puts me off in football more than talk of shares and takeovers, but with another Russian billionaire playing manager over in west London, I think these are worrying times for English football. Arsenal are in rude health, financially, and they don’t need to be bailed out by a billionaire – but money talks louder than any chairman, manager or set of fans ever could, so there’s a depressing sense of the inevitable about Usmanov gradually increasing his share of the Arsenal pie. I wouldn’t like to play Risk against this guy.
And let’s not forget that American billionaire Stan Kroenke holds a 12.19% stake in Arsenal â€“ if he decided to sell his stake to Usmanov, which is possible, then the Russian would be in the box seat, with more than a third of the club’s shares in his pocket.