Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Usmanov's back like a bad smell - Wellington's two year loan


Morning Gooners.

Well it eventually had to happen. It was all so quiet on the Alisher Usmanov front and then he turns up just before Christmas bringing a bag of gifts that no Gooner wants.

Speaking to Russian State TV, Usmanov said:
"Today, we have 27%; our objective is to bring that up to a blocking stake of 29.9%. 
"And from there, we will just keep looking. You can never tell what happens in life."

It's no secret he's wanted to increase his stake to the same amount as our largest shareholder, the American Stan Kroenke.

But as the Guardian point out, Usmanov has found it slow going when trying to buy up shares, only being able to purchase 50 shares – or 0.08% of the total Arsenal stock in two-and-a-half months.

As we know, Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith has seen David Dein make a shed load of cash by selling to Usmanov and has put her 15.9% stake up for sale but has been unable to find a buyer.

And the other large holding in the company belongs to Danny Fiszman who has a 16% stake.

What does this all mean at the moment? Nothing really. It's just posturing. If Usmanov wanted to attempt a hostile take over of the club he could do it tomorrow by buying Lady Nina's shares. But the other shareholders would no doubt reject his offer on their shares and he'd have to retreat, selling all the shares he brought above 29.9% and that would be humiliating for him.

We all know the club is in a secure long term financial position. The value of the shares is going to rise as the debt is reduced. So there will be money there to be made once the debt on the stadium is paid off.

I personally don't want a change in ownership. I believe the status quo has worked well for the club. We are on a solid financial footing, the team is doing well and has qualified for the Champions League for countless seasons under an excellent manager in Arsene Wenger.

And even if we had a rich owner in charge, who's to say we'd be more successful than we are now? I believe Ivan Gazidis is doing an excellent job behind the scenes and the business is doing well. A change in my opinion would be a detriment to the good work which has been carried out already.



Off the pitch yesterday the winner of Tuttosport's 'Golden Boy' trophy was announced.

Manchester City's striker Mario Balotelli pipped our very own Jack Wilshere to the prize.

The Italian then said:
"I don't know who Wilshere is but the next time I play against Arsenal I will keep a close eye on him."
Whether that was said with any disrespect intended is unclear. However the Arsenal man showed his class with a tweet last night to congratulate the trophy's winner.

"Would just like to say how honoured I am to have got 2nd place in the 'golden boy'! And like to thank everyone who voted for me!
"And would like to congratulate Mario Balotelli on winning it, even if he doesn't know who I am! He is a top player!"
What a top man Wilshere is. And as I found out on Twitter, Balotelli finished eighth in the same competition when he was Wilshere's age. 

And the England man has been talking about his role within the team to the official Arsenal magazine.

He said:
"Alex and I both know how it works and it doesn't even need that much talking. If I go upfield, Alex is clever enough to see that he needs to stay and vice versa – if he goes I can see that I need to hold."
However this communication to my mind hasn't been there all the time and perhaps more talking may help. I remember at Old Trafford distinctly seeing both Song and Wilshere in the final third of the United end during the first half. If this partnership is to work successful more talking is certainly required. They need to know who is to go and who is to stay. And that will also make it easier on our defence.

Elsewhere, the Daily Mirror believe Brazilian Wellington is going to have to spend at least two years on loan before he can return to play for Arsenal. There has been no news from the club regarding the attackers destination but he's currently at home in Brazil enjoying a break before his move to Europe.

And the same newspaper links Nicklas Bendtner with a move to Italy to join Lazio on loan in January with a view to a permanent deal next Summer. There seems to be a lot of smoke regarding the big Dane at the moment. I hope there isn't any truth to these rumours as we certainly need him in the squad at least until the end of the season.

The manager spoke with the match day programme about Henri Lansbury and believes he has a future at the club.

Wenger said: 
"For me, Lansbury will be an Arsenal player. He is doing extremely well [on loan]."
At the moment you can't see where he would fit in the squad but I'm sure the manager has it all mapped out.



And finally, a couple of things which really make me proud to be a Gooner. Firstly at least ten members of the Arsenal first team squad when to - I believe - Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital to hand out presents, sign autographs and have pictures taken with the youngsters who have to spend Christmas in hospital.

I know most other clubs do this, but many don't send two five-a-side teams nor do they visit this close to Christmas. Well done Arsenal for organising this. I'm sure it gave all those youngsters and their parents a boost.

The other thing I wanted to highlight was the work the club are doing with the community to get people reading and writing. The launch was held the other night for a new book Arsenal 'Til I Die which has been written for Gooners by Gooners. 

The official site has more of a write up but it's another reason to be proud to be a Gooner.

Follow Ashburton Grove on Twitter, chatting Arsenal throughout the day. To receive the blog everyday you can subscribe via e-mail or take the RSS feed to your favourite reader.

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