Arsenal’s second largest shareholder Alisher Usmanov insists he is not in talks to sell his 30 per cent stake to majority shareholder Stan Kroenke – but has hinted that he is open to selling to a third party.
Russian billionaire Usmanov issued a statement on Wednesday in response to reports that American sports tycoon Kroenke, who owns 67 per cent of the Gunners, had made a £525m offer for his shareholding.
“I would like to be clear that I am not holding any talks with Mr Kroenke about a sale,” he said.
“My interest in Arsenal from the beginning was long term and my intention has always been to buy additional shares should they become available.”
Usmanov, who has been kept out of the boardroom by Kroenke, said he had offered to buy out Kroenke in a deal valuing the Premier League club at £2bn and that his offer remained on the table.
A fan-led consortium has this week emerged as interested in buying both Kroenke and Usmanov’s stakes – a scenario the Russian did not rule out.
“I would like to assure supporters that I am open to various future scenarios,” he added. “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.”