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Arsenal do not expect a takeover bid from Stan Kroenke

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Arsenal chief confident of keeping Fabregas

Arsenal do not expect majority shareholder Stan Kroenke to launch a takeover of the Premier League club.

The American sports tycoon is within 17 shares of the 30% threshold that, under takeover rules, would force him to make an offer for the entire stockholding.

But Gunners chief executive Ivan Gazidis told BBC Sport: "I've had no indication from any shareholders that they are about to launch a takeover.

"The club is self-sustaining so we don't rely on any outside investment."

As well as Kroenke, the other major shareholders are Uzbeki tycoon Alisher Usmanov, who holds a stake of just over 26% through his investment vehicle Red and White Holdings, Danny Fiszman, and Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith.

According to the Arsenal Supporters' Trust roughly 13% of the club's are held by small shareholders.

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Kroenke, who became a non-executive director in September 2008 and is said to be in regular contact with his fellow board members, has been gradually increasing his stake through a number of different share purchases.

And at Arsenal's annual general meeting on 22 October, the American was asked what his intentions were for the north London club, but he chose not to speak.

Under takeover rules, any public statements regarding future bid intentions must be unambiguous, otherwise the individual concerned would be prevented from making a formal takeover move for six months.

But when asked if he thought Kroenke wanted to buy Arsenal, Gazidis said: "That's speculative. We're very comfortable with the multi-ownership model. If that were ever to change, we'd have to address the situation at that time.

"I can't answer for the shareholders in our club, they will all have their own intentions and how they want to speak about that or express their intentions really has to be up to them.

Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas
Cesc could not possible have been more clear about his commitment to Arsenal - we're not selling him

Chief executive Ivan Gazidis

"But from the club's perspective, we don't depend on outside investment for our success so we're not reliant on those changes and, therefore, they have a far less dramatic impact on us than they would if these were the pockets we were dipping into every week.

"Many investors are interested in investing in Arsenal and I welcome the fact that people are buying shares. It's a very positive sign because it shows this is a well-run club with tremendous assets."

Meanwhile, Gazidis reiterated Arsenal's view that captain Cesc Fabregas will not be leaving the Emirates Stadium in January despite reported interest from Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta must step down in June 2010 and potential candidates often promise to sign big-money stars.

Fabregas, 22, began his football career at Barcelona but left to join Arsenal as a 16-year-old in 2003 and has since become one of the most influential midfielders in world football. He is contracted to the Gunners until 2014.

"Fabregas is a victim of the news cycle in Spain around elections at clubs like Barcelona and Real Madrid," said Gazidis.

"If I was advising anybody reading those stories I would say you can probably expect to hear lots more because people want to be elected into positions at those clubs.

ARSENAL'S MAJOR SHAREHOLDERS
Stan Kroenke: 29.97%
Alisher Usmanov: 26.07%
Danny Fiszman: 16.11%
Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith: 15.90%

"But Cesc could not possibly have been more clear about his commitment to Arsenal, you can see it every week. We're not selling him. We're very happy with our captain and looking forward to him growing with the team."

Despite Fabregas' influence, Arsenal have not lifted a major trophy since 2005 when they claimed the FA Cup.

But Arsene Wenger's side are well-placed in this season's Premier League title race and remain in contention for the Champions League and FA Cup.

Gazidis is confident Arsenal can win something this season but insists they will not break the bank during the January transfer window to do so.

"There are enormous pressures on people in football to spend money to resolve issues or to show ambition," he explained. "Your ambition is measured by how much you spend in the transfer market and I just don't think that is a very accurate barometer.

We view ourselves as one of the leading clubs in the world and in order to be that we need to win trophies - we believe we've got a young squad capable of doing that this year

Ivan Gazidis

"If you succumb to those pressures you're likely to find, one or two transfer windows down the road, you're bitterly regretting the decisions you made. Acting with discipline is far more important than acting because you are under pressure to act.

"We will make additions but only if they are real additions of quality that add something to our squad.

"Since May 2009 this club has signed 15 first-team players to new long-term contracts, we've got the youngest squad in the Premier League and we're right in the thick of the race to win the Premier League this year.

"While it doesn't get all the headlines it is a major investment in our current talent pool, it's a very effective way of spending money and ensures great stability for a squad that has grown up together as they move into a phase where they start delivering trophies back to the club.

Gazidis, who joined Arsenal a year ago following a spell as deputy commissioner of the Major League Soccer, added: "Trophies are important to Arsenal. We view ourselves as one of the leading clubs in the world and in order to be that we need to win trophies.

"We believe we've got a young squad capable of doing that this year. But, as importantly, we've got a young squad capable of doing it for a sustained period of time over the next four or five years.

"We're right in the mix for the three major trophies this year and we're very focused on winning them all."



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see also
Arsenal weighing up striker move
06 Jan 10 |  Arsenal
Fabregas to return in two weeks
30 Dec 09 |  Arsenal
Ramsey a 'future Arsenal captain'
05 Jan 10 |  Arsenal
Kroenke called on to reveal plans
22 Dec 09 |  Business
Kroenke near to Arsenal threshold
21 Dec 09 |  Business
Usmanov raises stake in Arsenal
11 Dec 09 |  Business
Arsenal need a striker - Fabregas
08 Dec 09 |  Arsenal
What next for 'Silent Stan' at Arsenal?
05 Nov 09 |  Business
Kroenke silent on Arsenal plans
22 Oct 09 |  Arsenal
Arsenal announce jump in profits
19 Sep 08 |  Business


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