LONDON (AP) Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov has had a $1.3 billion bid to take full control of Arsenal rejected by owner Stan Kroenke, a person familiar with the offer said Friday.
Usmanov remains interested in buying out Kroenke’s 67-percent majority stake in a deal valuing the club at $2 billion, the person told The Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the club’s financial matters.
It is the latest move in a decade-long battle to own Arsenal by Usmanov, who has built up a 30 percent stake in the Premier League club since 2007. The takeover bid was mounted as another season at Arsenal draws to a conclusion amid uncertainty and strife on and off the pitch at the north London club.
Arsenal is set to miss out on qualifying for the Champions League for the first time in two decades, with the team in fifth place heading into its final match of the league campaign against Everton on Sunday.
Fan protests have mounted against manager Arsene Wenger with calls for him to leave after almost 21 years in charge. Wenger said his future won’t be settled until a board meeting is held after Arsenal plays Chelsea in the FA Cup final on May 27.
Usmanov, whose investment in Arsenal is through Red & White Holdings, has been denied a place on the board of directors by Kroenke and he has publicly questioned the lack of investment in the squad. Kroenke, who – like Usmanov – first started amassing shares in Arsenal in 2007, succeeded in gaining full control in 2011.
Under Kroenke, Arsenal’s Premier League trophy drought has continued. The last title came in 2004 and the only silverware since then has been FA Cup successes in 2014 and 2015.
The Financial Times first reported that Usmanov made the recent offer to buy out Kroenke, who also owns Los Angeles Rams NFL team and Major League Soccer’s Colorado Rapids.
The refusal reportedly led to a dust-up with manager Mark Hughes in the dressing room after Saints came-from-ahead to lose 3-2.
Hughes says everything is better now, but there needs to be punishment for Boufal’s actions. This means one of Saints’ most talented attackers won’t be a part of their desperate battle to overcome relegation (at least not soon).
“Given where we are at the moment, he’s probably best served training with a different group just to make people aware the situation we found ourselves in wasn’t what should have happened. He understands that now. He probably needs to rebuild a bit of trust with us and his team-mates. That’s what we’re working on. He won’t be involved this weekend. We’ll have to wait and see [whether he can return this season].”
“He’s remorseful about it, which he needed to be, and we’ll build him back up to be in the group again. But the time for that isn’t now. It’s about him biding his time, doing the right things, until he’s reintegrated.”
Boufal has two goals and two assists in 26 games (11 starts) since arriving from arriving from Lille for around $22 million. He has six caps for Morocco.
Liverpool has released its plans to keep supporters safe should they be among the 5,000 with tickets in Rome on Wednesday (via LiverpoolFC.com), pledging the “most comprehensive safety and security advice.”
The club has taken the exceptional measure of requesting an extraordinary meeting in the Italian capital, which will take place on Friday April 27. … At the behest of Liverpool, club officials will join AS Roma, UEFA and the relevant Italian police and security services to discuss specific ongoing concerns.
Merseyside Police chief superintendent Dave Charnock backed up Roma’s police demand that Liverpool fans without tickets skip the trip to Italy. According to the BBC, Liverpool was asked to put fans names on their tickets to the game.
“While we understand and appreciate that many Liverpool fans will want to travel to Rome, I would encourage fans who do not have tickets to not travel,” he said.
AS Roma, for its part, posted a photo of Cox with the statement, “His recovery and the safety of all fans attending football matches, is the only thing that matters now.”
Now is not the time for us to talk about football.
We are praying for Sean Cox and his family.
His recovery, and the safety of all fans attending football matches, is the only thing that matters now. pic.twitter.com/u9TFRJPCwg
Could Steven Gerrard‘s first foray into management come against his old manager and in one of the most heated derbies in the world?
The BBC is reporting that the Liverpool legend is on the shortlist for Rangers as the Glaswegian side prepares to hire a new manager in its bid to reverse Celtic domination of the Scottish Premiership and the Old Firm Derby.
Brendan Rodgers has engineered a marvelous run of form for Celtic, who went unbeaten in the league last season. Rodgers is also a sought-after managerial candidate for bigger jobs in Europe, and may not be at Celtic if and when Gerrard is hired by its rivals.
Either Celtic or Rangers have won the Scottish top flight title dating back to 1984-85, when champions Aberdeen were led by some guy named Alex Ferguson.
Rangers are facing a Manchester United moment this weekend, traveling to Celtic Park for a Sunday derby against Celtic which would see their rivals clinch the Premiership with a win.
Celtic has a 10-point lead on Rangers and Aberdeen, and is extremely likely to win its seventh-straight Premiership title. The record for most consecutive Scottish titles is nine, shared by Celtic (1966-74) and Rangers (1989-97).