Premier League: Alisher Usmanov denies Arsenal shares sale

Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov, the second biggest investor in the club, has denied rumours that he intends to sell his shares to majority shareholder Stan Kroenke, who owns 67% of the club shares. It has been reported that Kroenke made an offer to buy Usmanov's 30%, but the 64-year-old Uzbek billionaire said that he has a long-term interest in Arsenal and that he does not intend to sell any of his shares. On the contrary, he would be interested in buying some more.

"I see my 30% stake as an important aspect in protecting the best interests of the fans in the club," Usmanov said. Usmanov is not part of the Arsenal board, so he can't really influence the club's decisions, but he has criticized Kroenke after Arsenal finished outside the Premier League top four last season. In May 2017 Usmanov made an offer worth 1 billion pounds to take control of the club, but Stan Kroenke rejected the bid. "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 said.

The billionaire added: "I would like to assure supporters that I am open to various future scenarios - 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." Usmanov bought his first Arsenal shares in 2007 but he failed to take control of the club as Stan Kroenke stepped in to buy the majority stakes in 2008.

Arsenal are 25/1 at Bet365 to win the Premier League title this season.

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