Usmanov the Underwriter?

This is an interesting one.In May, Usmanov proposed to underwrite a £100m rights issue to reduce the club's debts and give free up money for Arsene Wenger to spend. At the time, I thought it was just some bluster from Usmanov, but it turns out that the board have decided to have a serious think about his proposal. I suppose the shrinking demand for outrageously over-priced corporate boxes has convinced the Board that the global recession's going to hit the Arsenal quite badly.If we do this, Usmanov and Kroenke will each have to stump up £25 million to maintain their 25% stakes. They have the finances and the appetite to do so. The other major shareholders, Fiszman and Bracewell-Smith, have the finances to match them but probably not the appetite. That would leave the AST and minor shareholders, none of whom would probably have the ability or desire to maintain their percentage.And if I'm not mistaken, if Usmanov underwrites the scheme, he gets to mop up any shares that don't get taken up. He'll be able to grow the pie higher, so to speak, and increase his stake. He'll get more influence at the club, and might even win enough respect that he'll get a seat on the board.Or maybe not.On one hand, I'm wary whenever Usmanov starts rumbling about the club. He's been on the scene for two years now, and he hasn't grown on me. You know a takeover's on the cards at some stage, and this could be the beginning of the end. And all things being the same, I'd rather not see the Arsenal as Usmanov's personal possession. It just doesn't sit right.On the other hand, £100 million would be quite tempting. The club keeps saying we're as richer than Rockefeller, but you now they're just lying. The till's fairly empty, and we could really use that money for players. At the moment, the transfer season's just waiting to get off, and it'll be really nice to have a big wad of cash when the likes of Benzema and Melo step onto the stage.So what to do? We'll just have to wait and see, I guess.

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