Usmanov The Fencer? Theo, Lehmann

Good morning to you all on this most fine Monday, I have to be off by 8.30 so I shall write fast…

The Guardian has done an excellent profile of Alisher Usmanov, the man who desires to gain a controlling stake in Arsenal with Dein through their Red And White Holdings company.. Here’s the summary

There’s coverage about his alleged crimes during the 1980s in the Soviet Union for which he was imprisoned. Usmanov was convicted of financial crimes, but, according to Russian journalists, rape too. In September Schillings, his legal firm, took action to remove similar allegations from the website of Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan. There are also suggestions of relationships with drug traffickers and questions on his close connections with former KGB. He said:

“You are trying to turn the acquaintance of any Russian with members of the KGB into a crime. This is simply not appropriate.”

Usmanov has investments in a subsidary of Gazprom, owns Metalloinvest and Komersant a newspaper. According to Tom Wise MEP his jail pardon came from heroin trafficker and mafia lord Gafur Rakhimov, apparently his mentor.. Usmanov says he only knew him as he was his parents neighbour!

Then there is the case of the death of the man from the Komersant office building, Ivan Safronov, defence correspondent, which he may be linked to.

He admits he considered buying Spurs, but fell in love with English Football when England won the World Cup 1966!?!

The article suggests that possibly Usmanov is using Arsenal to hedge his bets in case of any sudden decline of fortune in the former Soviet Union countries for him as Putin rounds on oligarchs in Russia.

Also he competed on the Uzbek Fencing team.

All I hope is that he keeps hands off Arsenal and away from England, it would be a bad day for Arsenal. The board have entered a lockdown on selling shares for the next few years, which is good as this prevents him increasing his 23% stake. The slogan goes – Love Arsenal – Hate Usmanov, I couldn’t agree more…

Moving on! Website ‘The Voice’ has an article about Pele being an Arsenal fan saying

“Arsenal are my favourite team right now and I think they are the best performing team in the Premier League.”

Its always nice to get praise, especially from one of the World’s most famous players of the beautiful game.. You just have to hope thought that:

1. This sort of praise doesn’t go to the teams heads and they keep playing well.

2. That the team doesn’t get too much hype too early on in the season..

SkySports report that Lehmann has received praise for his performance in the Cyprus match.. It seems to me that Low really wants Lehmann to be playing first team football at Arsenal so he can justify playing him for Germany. A lot of the debate surrounding the transfer has involved Lehmann’s international career, which he probably sees ending after Euro 2008, so he is probably desparate to play more, having been stuck behind Oli Kahn for all those years.. In any case, fair play to Lehmann, and he did make some good saves.

Duncan White says that Theo is the future for England and that McClaren should play him against Croatia. McClaren has obviously not agreed with this view because the Scum’s £16million, 40 goal a season, world class hitman, flop, Darren Bent has been called up…… Anyway enough of that, the article still makes interesting reading, and some good points about Walcott.

“Just playing has been giving me more confidence. If I get more games, I’m sure I can improve further.” Theo

This is what we want to hear from him, the more he scores and plays the more confident he looks and I think he has a bright future as long as he keeps his head down.. The guy is bloody quick.. Interestingly one of my mates played against him at schoolboy level a few years ago.. He told me that they just got the fastest guy on the team and the harshest tackler to mark him and he ran the show.. Anyway…

It looks like Steve Bruce will become Wigan manager today, so I guess we will see him in charge for the first time against us on Sat…

Also according to the Guardian Willy and his French chums were sharing a glass of champagne as Scotland’s defeat ensured their Euro 2008 qualification.

That’s all, I’m off for a jaunt, enjoy this most grey of Mondays and the cold weather…

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