Arsenal is about to have new ownership, as a bid for the storied club is set to shatter the previous record that a private investor paid to own a team.
That's the latest from Jason Burt of the Telegraph Sport, who is reporting that a Middle Eastern consortium is prepared to buy out the Gunners for a sum of £1.5 billion—which would eclipse the record £800 million mark paid for Manchester United—in the process taking ownership out of the hands of American Stan Kroenke.
Here's an excerpt from Burt's piece:
The cash offer, which is more than twice the amount at which Arsenal were valued two years ago, will be for 100 per cent of the club, and if successful would wipe out debts that stand at around £250 million according to the last full year’s financial results.
Nick Sutton also posted a picture of the proposed buyout on Twitter:
Nick Sutton @suttonnick
Sunday Telegraph Sport front page - "Exclusive: £1.5bn bid for Arsenal" #tomorrowspaperstoday http://t.co/lRIm89NhBF2013-3-2 21:55:15
After years of futility (last major win was 2005 FA Cup), the Gunners are facing a group of ownership members who want to turn the club's fortunes around. According to the sources mentioned in Burt's piece, funds from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are fueling the deal, and other buyouts of big-time clubs have only given further legitimacy to another takeover:
A meeting has already been requested with the American to discuss the proposed offer. The seriousness of the bid is reinforced by the recent successful takeovers of Manchester City and Paris St-Germain by Middle East backers.
As noted by The Sun, the move puts pressure on the entire organization. Arsene Wenger will now come under fire with the new backers pushing for aggressive transfer bids and improved play.
New management is also looking to reduce ticket prices at Emirates Stadium (which are some of the highest in the world), giving more fans a chance to be in attendance with a better price.
Spending aggressively for well-noted players will now also put pressure on all the Gunners. Overall, there is a fear that Arsenal might lose its edge as one of the elite clubs in football as noted by Burt in his original piece:
A bid source told Telegraph Sport: Arsenal is at a pivotal position at the moment. The fear is that the club is facing a cycle of decline like Liverpool. From our point of view it is the perfect moment to make this bid because at this moment in time you can still genuinely justify this extraordinary valuation on the club.
With a bid of £1.5 billion, it's clear that the Middle East backers mean business.
We'll continue to keep you updated on all the latest news and rumors from what looks like to be a major takeover in the Premier League. Arsenal, like it or not, appears to be headed for a multinational ownership group with extremely deep pockets.