Monday, 11 April 2011

Why David Dein's Arsenal return is not a simple matter

Many hoping for a formal announcement of David Dein's return to Arsenal today are likely to be left disappointed.

Whilst there are certainly moves to see the former vice Chairman brought back into the fold, an immediate return to his desk at Highbury House is unlikely.

Stan Kroenke is a cautious mover, keen not to alienate the present board, especially as they have recommend to other shareholders vote to accept the American's offer of £11,750 for each of their shares.

To move with such cavalier fashion is not the American's style.

Remember, Kroenke owned 12.19% of Arsenal a week after Dein was asked to leave his post at Arsenal in April 2007.

Had the American wanted to make a swift move for the Gunners then, he could have easily purchased Dein's stock, a stake of 14.65% in the club.

That would have taken him to owning 26.84% of Arsenal within months of purchasing ITV's 9.9 per cent share in the club.

However he was cautious in his approach to the Arsenal board, which was then made up by chairman Peter Hill Wood and life long Gooner Danny Fiszman, along with Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith, Richard Carr,  Ken Friar, Sir Chips Keswick and Lord Harris of Peckham.

It was because of his diplomacy and the fact the board chose not to work with Usbek billionaire Alisher Usmanov, that Kroenke was invited to join Arsenal's ruling committee in September 2008.

Since then Kroenke has been working alongside the board and slowly increasing his stake in the club until the time was right to make an offer for Danny Fiszman's and Lady Nina Bracewell Smith's shares in Arsenal Holdings PLC.

Whilst Dein is seen as an Arsenal man through and through and someone who can push the north London club forward on and off the pitch, reinstating him may not be easy.

Many believe he has burnt his bridges, making a comeback even less likely. But as we've seen with the developments in the last 24 hours, nothing is black and white and there is room for maneuver.

Whilst the former vice chairman has been absent from north London, Arsenal have not won a trophy.

Rebuilding those bridges may take some time and any announcement of his return could be delayed whilst relationships with other members of the Arsenal board are smoothed over.

However having worked with both Kroenke and Usmanov, who seems unlikely to accept the American's offer for his stock, Dein can play a key role in working with the two men for the best of Arsenal.

His position as Arsene Wenger's wing man to sort out the 'dirty business' of transfers has also not been filled, with the manager doing most of the donkey work himself.

Dein's return could free up the Frenchman to concentrate on the playing side of the club, which would ultimately benefit Arsenal.

Any sort of announcement would however be made once Kroenke has completed the purchase of Danny Fizsman's and Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith's stock and a vote by other shareholder on his £11,750 cash offer has taken place.

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