A consortium from the Middle East has launched the biggest ever takeover bid for a football club with an offer of £1.5bn for Premier League side Arsenal.
The group, made up of investors from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, hope to tempt American owner Stan Kroenke with the world record sum, reports the Sunday Telegraph.
The mystery consortium members, who are apparently being backed by funds from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, are to bid for every share in the club and have promised the money will be invested in the faltering team, who face a battle to qualify for next season's lucrative Champions League competition.
It is unlikely Usmanov will want to sell his shareholding, given his 'dream' of taking control of Arsenal himself, but the Middle East consortium believes it will be able to work with the billionaire, who does not currently have a seat on the board.
Any takeover would inevitably raise questions over the future of manager Arsene Wenger but the Frenchman is understood to be highly-regarded by the consortium.
A bid source was quoted as saying: '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.
'We will not bid for Arsenal if they go into decline. Kroenke and Usmanov will not get this kind of valuation if Arsenal do not succeed and will not get this kind of valuation ever again.
'The amount of capital required to pump into Arsenal to make it competitive within England, Europe and the world means that the valuation cannot go any higher.'
Culled from Daily Mail UK