Another American club in the UK?




Another American club in the UK?

It looks like Arsenal are about to be subject to a hostile takeover, as I wrote a while back. The minute people start shifting shares about the way the Gunners' directors were you could be sure they feared a takeover attempt. They were gathering shares together ready to resist Kroenke's attempts to buy the club.

Clearly Dein has different ideas, most likely he has thrown his lot in with the American billionaire, and that could spell trouble. At the moment it seems to be a stalemate, Kroenke and Dein have enough shares to attempt a takeover, but currently Hill-Wood and his allies have enough to resist it.

But Dein and Kroenke only need to attract one more major shareholder over to their side and they will gain the upper hand. The major player in all this is the manager, Arsene Wenger. Whichever faction gets his backing will probably win the contest as all the minor shareholders are likely to follow his lead.

I think a lot will depends on the funds Wenger is given in the summer, the club clearly needs to strengthen defensively and if he is thwarted by a lack of cash, while Liverpool's new American owners spend freely, he could be swayed over to Kroenke's camp.

With Manchester United seemingly prospering under the guidance of the Glazers, there is no real reason for Arsene to see a US buyout as a bad thing. Aston Villa and West Ham United have both spent heavily under foreign ownership, even though it is yet to pay off for them. From a manager's point of view it must seem like a dream come true.

The only thing that bothers me is the long term aspects - what happens if success fails to come? How long will a foreign owner bank roll a club before he decides to cut his losses? A good example of this is Fulham under Mohamed Al Fayed, he was happy to spend money until he found his ground expansion plans blocked. The Harrods owner no longer sees the west London club as an investment and it became a drain on his finances.

So what does he do? He cuts his investment into the club and Fulham struggle badly. While it is extremely unlikely to happen at Manchester United or Liverpool, the money to made is far too huge at those two, I do fear for Aston Villa.

Article written by Tris Burke



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