The BBC are reporting that David Dein has sold his 14.5% stake in Arsenal to a company part owned by Russian fat-cat billionaire Alisher Usmanov, Red & White Holdings; David Dein is to stay involved with the Gunners as Chairman of Red & White Holdings and they have implied that they’d like to gobble up some more shares in the future.
Dein, understandably in chipper mood said:
“I have always had the best interests of Arsenal at heart. I’ve had a love affair with the club since I was six….My ambition remains to play an active role in Arsenal again. My immediate intention is to work with others to provide the financial resources necessary to turn the vision into reality. I firmly believe that the involvement of Red & White with a significant stake and the long-term commitment of Arsene Wenger are absolutely the best outcome for the club, fans and shareholders alike.”
Usmanov has now entered the swirling miasma that is the Arsenal boardroom alongside American suitor, US tycoon Stan Kroenke, this could ratchet up the pressure on the club’s board to relent and give in to a takeover.
Arsenal now have to find out how to accommodate two very successful and very powerful new shareholders, Kroenke and Usmanov. This would be fine if they were all content to share the club and let small share-owners buy more shares and sit around the table and be reasonable – however, the chances of this happening are very, very small. This is a power struggle that is only just beginning.
It’s been clear for a while that Dein wants to be Chairman, and would like a sugar-daddy to work with – he doesn’t care who that is – Kroenke, Ecclestone, Usmanov. As for the current Board, it’s impossible to know what their motivations are. It’s suspected that shareholder Fitzman wants to sell and avoid tax by being non-resident.
The most English-run big club with non-English players could very well soon be bought by non-English owners with an English chairman.