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Saturday 22 July 2017

Arsenal majority shareholder Stan Kroenke insists his shares are not for sale

Arsene Wenger's Arsenal future remains uncertain.
Arsene Wenger's Arsenal future remains uncertain.

Arsenal majority shareholder Stan Kroenke has insisted he remains committed to the club and his company's shares are "not, and never have been, for sale".

KSE UK, which is the holding company for the American's interest in the Gunners, issued a statement to the London Stock Exchange on Monday morning following "recent media speculation" concerning their c ommitment to the Premier League club, who this season missed out on the top four of the Premier League for the first time in 20 years.

Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov, who currently owns 30 per cent of the club, tabled a formal £1billion bid to buy Arsenal, but Kroenke has no intention of relinquishing any of his 67 per cent holding.

A statement to the London Stock Exchange read: "KSE UK, Inc notes the recent media speculation concerning its shareholding in Arsenal Holdings PLC and confirms that its shares are not, and never have been, for sale. KSE is a committed, long term investor in Arsenal and will remain so."

Arsenal are now facing up to a multi-million pound drop in revenue after failing to qualify for next season's Champions League, but the statement of intent from KSE indicates the American is at the Emirates Stadium for the long haul.

The Gunners may have come up short in the Premier League, but could yet win what would be a third FA Cup in four seasons when they take on holders Chelsea at Wembley on Saturday.

Kroenke, though, could face a battle to win back the trust of those supporters who believe a change is needed in the boardroom.

Chants for the American to "get out of our club" resonated around the ground during Arsenal's 3-1 win over Everton on Sunday, which proved only enough for fifth place.

The future of manager Arsene Wenger also as yet remains unresolved.

Wenger chose not to join his players on the traditional end-of-season lap of appreciation on Sunday, but offered words of support to the under-fire owner in his post-match press conference.

''I respect Stan Kroenke a lot. He is not at fault if we did not reach the Champions League,'' Wenger said.

''It is the technical department who is responsible for that. I don't see what he has to do with that.''

Wenger, however, accepts doubts surrounding whether or not he would be staying on past the end of his current contract have contributed to an ''absolutely horrendous'' environment at the north London club.

Wenger has refused to confirm he will stay on as manager next season and, after missing out on the Premier League's top four for the first time since 1996, the Frenchman said the uncertainty had not helped.

''Overall I believe that we played since January in a very difficult environment for different reasons,'' Wenger said.

''Some obviously that you know about, and that is very difficult for the group of players to cope with that. Some other reasons where we will talk about another day.

''But the psychological environment for the group of the players was absolutely horrendous. I am very proud of what they have done, the way they responded and finished the season.

''Certainly my personal situation has contributed to that. But they should not question it, I am professional, as long as I am somewhere I do my job until the last day.

''You could not question my love or my loyalty to this club, because I said no to every club in the world to stay here with very restricted finances for years. So I don't understand really why (there is) the question over that commitment.''

Finishing fifth means Arsenal will play in the Europa League for the first time next season and missing out on Europe's premier tournament may not sit well with their star players.

The futures of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, in particular, are far from certain.

Arsenal have some selection concerns ahead of the FA Cup final, with defender Laurent Koscielny banned following his red card on Sunday, while Gabriel had to be carried off on a stretcher after sustaining a knee injury.

Press Association

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