Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov has made a bid of $1.3bn for Stan Kroenke's 67% stake in the north London club, looking to take over the Premier League giants depsite - or perhaps because of - recent struggles at the Emirates.
The Financial Times report that the metals magnate made a bid worth £1bn for Kroenke's stake in the club, with the Telegraph's Jeremy Wilson later confirming that the offer was rejected, but remains on the table.
Alisher Usmanov makes $1.3bn bid to take control of Arsenal FC https://t.co/nVYJ1VUNwk— Financial Times (@FinancialTimes) May 19, 2017
Usmanov currently owns 30 per cent of Arsenal's shares, but has no say on club policy, transfers or financial decisions. Stan Kroenke, a US sports businessman who also owns the NBA's Denver Nuggets, boasts a 67% share, and has been the shot caller since 2007.
Arsenal was valued at $2bn when the approach was made a month ago. And Kroenke, having failed to provide a formal response, has indicated by word of mouth that he isn't considering giving up his share.
A source close to the parties told FT: “Two weeks ago, I thought something could realistically happen. Now I am not so sure."
The reported bid may just reignite the feud between Usmanov and Kroenke. The Uzbek-born Russian is of the view that the owner isn't investing enough in the squad, and recently blamed Kroenke, along with the Arsenal board, for the club's recent failures.
The Gunners sit in the fifth spot on the Premier League table, and are dangerously close to missing out on the Champions League for the first time in 20 years.
To qualify, they absolutely have to beat Everton; and Middlesbrough would also have to prevent Liverpool from taking all three points in the Premier League's curtain closer on Sunday.
Failure to make it into the top four would see the London side lose £50m in revenue.