As things stand, I suspect Alisher Usmanov’s rumoured £1billion bid to take control of Arsenal will fail but it is encouraging at least to see some signs of life at the top of the ivory tower.
Stan Kroenke is the archetypal millpond; never rippled, seldom more than tepid, and his tenure has been marked by a lack of engagement and a shroud of secrecy being pulled over the upper echelons of the club.
In truth, it is probably Stan’s greatest strength, a quality that separates him from many in modern sport – allowing his teams to operate with consistency and without undue interference.
But there comes a point when a stand-offish approach begins to look apathetic and disinterested, and we have long since reached that point under Kroenke’s tenure. His unwillingness to do anything about the lack of tangible achievement at the club, or at least to push for change in the structures, is demonstrative of a man who doesn’t particularly care, as long as the money keeps coming in.
Usmanov, by comparison, has probably been the most vocal of people at board and shareholder level, despite the fact that he has been excluded from anything to do with the day-to-day running and decision-making at the club.
Although he has often come out in support of Arsene Wenger, he has seldom been shy to call things as he has seen them, and that is a quality that has been desperately lacking at Arsenal in recent years.
It has been reported that Silent Stan has more or less ignored the rumoured bid by Usmanov and there seems little chance, unless a truly huge bid is made, that the American billionaire will be tempted to release his grip as the club’s majority shareholder.
In the clamour for change – and change of any sort – fans will doubtless be upset at what will be seen as the intransigence of Kroenke, a man who many did not care for when he arrived, and whom has attracted nothing but scorn over the past six months or so. It will serve as another sign that the club is being allowed to sleepwalk into insignificance.
And while the deterioration over the past few seasons has been marked, and change can sometimes be good, it would be unwise to wish for too much change, too quickly.
For me, the process of transformation at Arsenal must be more measured and more gradual.
There is a chance – admittedly slim – that we may see the last of Arsene at the end of the season, which would result in a real seismic shift in the way we do business as a club. It would mean an entirely new structure would need to be put in place over the summer, with an entirely new backroom staff and new positions being created, and that is without new playing personnel being brought in.
In short, it would be a lot of change in a short space of time; achievable but fiendishly difficult.
If you added into that mix a billionaire-backed takeover, a new board, and new executives, with a new ethos and method of doing business, there is a risk in my mind that it could all be too much and plunge the club deeper into the malaise that has clung to it for too long.
We are a club that has built a reputation on consistency and prudency and it would be out of character and out of kilter with how we do business. It would be transformative, for sure, but there is a line between measured change and panic.
Make no mistake, change is desperately needed but, in our collective clamour for that to happen, we must be careful not to push for too much, lest the creaking banks of this particular dam burst open, releasing an unstoppable torrent of effluent that no amount of back-tracking can stop.
So while Usmanov’s back-channel bid for control was a welcome ripple over the rapidly stagnating Kroenke millpond, it may just have come at the wrong time for the club, which is already facing a series of post-season contractual discussions that could make or break its future as a side capable of challenging for honours in the near future.
As and when the short-term future of the club is secured over the summer, one way or another, it may well be time for the Uzbek magnate to look again at how he may finally get his hands on that which he has coveted for so long.