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Usmanov makes bid to buy Arsenal — report

London (AFP) – Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov has made a $1.3 billion (£998 million, 1.1 billion euros) bid to take control of Arsenal from rival majority shareholder Stan Kroenke, according to a Financial Times report on Friday.

Uzbekistan-born Usmanov owns 30 percent of the Premier League club and is said to have recently made the offer in a letter to Kroenke, who controls a 67 per cent stake.

Kroenke is yet to formally respond to the offer, but the report says, after initially considering his options, the American sports mogul has decided he has no interest in selling the Gunners.

“Two weeks ago, I thought something could realistically happen. Now I am not so sure,” a person close to the situation told the Financial Times.

Steel magnate Usmanov already had a previous bid for Arsenal rejected and has been critical of Kroenke’s passive ownership style in the past.

Usmanov’s latest offer comes at a tricky time for the north London club, who are in severe danger of missing out on a lucrative place in next season’s Champions League following a miserable Premier League campaign marred by calls for boss Arsene Wenger to quit.

Wenger is yet to reveal if he will extend his 21-year reign and failing to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in two decades would cost Arsenal an estimated £50 million in revenue.

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