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Liverpool Pies

David Dein and Alisher Usmanov hit the headlines again, but Arsenal takeover appears off

Cast your mind back a few short months ago to the start of the season and all the talk was about Arsenal not being good enough to remain in the top four of the Premier League, and that we were going to be taken over by a Russian billionaire.

Alisher Usmanov, a Uzbeki-born businessman who made his billions through mining investments, roped in former Gunners' vice chairman to put together an audacious bid to add Arsenal to his list of assets.

Dein sold Usmanov his 14.5% stake in the club for a reputed £75 million and then set about building up the billionaire's investment company for Arsenal - Red and White Holdings - to the extent that it now owns 23% of the club.

However, there were unconfirmed reports that Dein and Usmanov had a falling out and today it has been claimed that the Russian, who claimed to be huge supported of Arsenal, is looking to sell his stake in the club.

Meanwhile, Dein has been linked with a proposed takeover for Liverpool FC...

In a story in today's Evening Standard, the newspaper claims that a City dealmaker has been asked to help find a buyer for Usmanov's 23%.

That was denied by a spokesman for Usmanov, but we'll keep you informed on any movement on that front.

As for Dein, he has now been linked with Dubai International Capital's revived bid for Liverpool. According to the Daily Mail, Dein stopped off in the United Arab Emirates for talks with DIC on his way back from a holiday in the Maldives.

His involvement in the mooted Liverpool buy-out is not without substance, as Dein was instrumental in setting up Arsenal's deal with Emirates Airlines for the naming rights for the club's new stadium, as well as the shirt sponsorship deal. Emirates is owned by the UAE royal family, while DIC is an investment company of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who is Prime Minister and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates, as well as the Ruler of Dubai.

Earlier this season, Dein was a regular guest in the Emirates Airlines executive box at Arsenal. He remains a Gooner through and through, so it is believed his involvement in the Liverpool buy-out would be purely on a consultation basis.

But with Liverpool's American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett apparently denying that the club is for sale, don't be too surprised if Dein manages to persuade Sheikh Mo to buy into Arsenal, rather than squander his money elsewhere. The involvement of Maktoum - a renowned sports fan and leader of genuine class and integrity - might be more welcomed by the Arsenal board of directors than that of Usmanov, in my humble opinion, and it could lead to a return to the set-up for Dein.

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Posted by Gordon Masson on January 25, 2008 10:14 AM in News
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