Kroenke set to emerge Arsenal sole owner

Arsenal majority owner Stan Kroenke

In a statement, Usmanov said: "I have made a decision to sell my shares in Arsenal Football Club which could be the best football club in the world".

Under Stock Exchange rules, Kroenke would have to make an offer for the remaining minority shares in Arsenal, most of which are small numbers held largely by supporters of the club.

To buy him and the other investors out, Kroenke will pay 602 million pounds, using 45 million pounds of his own money and a 557 million pound loan from Deutsche Bank.

The Arsenal Supporters' Trust (AST) issued a strongly worded statement opposing the move.

Kroenke has steadily increased his stake in Arsenal since first buying shares in 2007.

"Many of these fans are AST members and hold their shares not for value but as custodians who care for the future of the club".

"The AST is wholly against this takeover which marks a very sad day for Arsenal football club".

The shares owned by Arsenal fans will also be forcibly taken away by Kroenke, and Wright fears that the club will will simply become a cash cow for the American's business prospects.

The Russian made a bid to buy-out Kroenke past year but it failed and, with his business partner Farhad Moshiri owning Everton, Usmanov could invest the money he is set to receive from KSE into the Toffees and be made to feel much more welcome. He blamed the USA billionaire for the club's poor performance and lack of investment in players.

Kroenke is unpopular with some fans
Kroenke is unpopular with some fans

In Wenger's final season, Arsenal finished sixth in the Premier League as they missed out on the Champions League but qualified for the group stages of the Europa League.

American businessman Kroenke (above) now owns 67 per cent of the Gunners through his company Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, and has offered to purchase the 30.04 per cent held by Usmanov's Red and White Securities firm, valuing the club at £1.8billion. That offer was declined.

"KSE believes moving to private ownership will bring the benefits of a single owner better able to move quickly in furtherance of the club's strategy and ambitions, " Kroenke's company said.

'We appreciate Mr Usmanov's dedication to the Arsenal Football Club and the storied ethos and history the club represents.

The motion, proposed by Brian Sedgemore MP, read: 'This House believes that Arsenal is the best club football team in the world at the moment and admires them for the fluency and poetry that they have brought to the handsome game'.

Coming at a crucial time for Arsenal as they start life without manager Arsene Wenger for the first time in 22 years, the deal cements the position of the US sports boss among an elite band of super-rich soccer club owners in England.

With long-serving manager Arsene Wenger departing in the summer and being replaced by Spaniard Unai Emery, and some exciting names being linked with north London, there seems to be some optimism that Arsenal can get right back in amongst it after struggling for the last few years.

'We can not have a football club used as collateral against an owner's other business interests and we urge the Premier League to thoroughly examine this deal'.

"It's a real shame that this sale will bring to an end the long-standing official role of Arsenal supporters in the running of the club", said Arsenal fan Corbyn.

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