Mid-Day Ticker: Kroenke's Arsenal bid hits snag, UCL preview and more

Mid-Day Ticker: Kroenke's Arsenal bid hits snag, UCL preview and more

European Soccer

Mid-Day Ticker: Kroenke's Arsenal bid hits snag, UCL preview and more

Arsenal (Reuters Pictures)

By CALEB SONNELAND

Tuesday, it looked fairly certain that American sports tycoon Stan Kroenke's takeover bid for English side Arsenal was likely to succeed, but today's headlines tell a different story.  

Alisher Usmanov, who still holds a sizeable chunk of the London-based side's shares at 27 percent, refuses to sell his shares to Kroenke, as he says he "loves" Arsenal — despite the club's insistence that the remaining shareholders accept the American's offer of £11,750 per share.  

Manager Arsene Wenger has also declared his desire for Kroenke and his company, Kroenke Sports Enterprises, to attain full control, likely for the fact that it could bring some stability to a club that has had its struggles recently, both on and off the field.

Though, KSE will maintain a majority of the voting shares at close to 63 percent, the club itself wants a complete takeover and has urged all shareholders to accept Kroenke's offer, Usmanov included. The fact that he doesn't want to sell his shares, technically, shouldn't provide a problem for Kroenke and his company; however, the fact that the Usmanov is clinging to his minority share could lead to a standoff between the Russian billionaire and the London club.

Here are a few more stories from around the soccer world:

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PREVIEW

Tuesday saw Manchester United as well as Barcelona advance into the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League. They'll be joined by two more teams today, as Real Madrid and Schalke look to hold on to their sizable leads from the first legs of their respective quarterfinal matchups. Here's a closer look at the day's matches:

Tottenham v. Real Madrid (2:45 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel)

English newcomer Totternham looks to overturn a four-goal deficit against Jose Mourniho and Real Madrid back in London after falling, 4-0, in the first leg.

Madrid will be pleased to have Karim Benzema available for selection as the French striker has hit a rich vein of form lately.  

Aaron Lennon, who was mysteriously left out minutes prior to kickoff in the first leg, is available for the clash, while Peter Crouch will not be due to his red card suspension from the first leg.

Spurs have knocked out Italian powerhouse AC Milan and recorded wins over Inter Milan in the group stage, but to engineer a comeback of this magnitude would be the crowning jewel on manager Harry Redknapp's career. The winner will face Barcelona in the semifinals.

Schalke 04 v. Inter Milan (2:45 p.m., Fox Soccer Plus/FoxSoccer.tv)

In the day's other tie, German side Schalke 04 will take on current champions Inter Milan back in the Veltins-Arena after the former managed a phenomenal 5-2 away win in Italy last week.  

Schalke are without Jefferson Farfan, who misses out on a yellow card ban, and Christoph Metzelder is questionable as he is recovering from a broken nose.  It is being reported that, if he does play, he will wear a protective face mask á la New England Revolution defender Kevin Alston.

Inter Milan welcomes back centerback pairing Lucio and Walter Samuel who, if there is to be a miracle tonight, could play crucial roles in the match. The winner of the tie advances to face Manchester United in the semifinals.

Whatever happens in both matches, Inter Milan and Tottenham have no choice but to go for the jugular, which could make for some exciting, open play.

DE GEA CALMS TRANSFER RUMORS

David De Gea, the young Atletico Madrid goalkeeper, has been the subject of more than his fair share of transfer talk. The Spaniard has been linked to a host of top clubs, and Manchester United has emerged as the top contender for his signature.

It is being reported that the Red Devils are willing to pay £20-25 million for the player. Atletico Madrid has acknowledged the offer and now it all lies in the hands of the 20-year-old shot stopper.

Despite that, De Gea has come out today to play down exit talk by insisting that nothing has been signed or agreed between him and United, and he is happy at the Madrid club.

If he does decide to take his skills to England, his exit could trigger a merry-go-round of keepers around the world with the likes of Pepe Reina (Liverpool), Manuel Neuer (Schalke 04), and Hugo Lloris (Lyon) also being rumored to be looking to play elsewhere.

MOURINHO NOT LOOKING FOR MADRID EXIT

Jose Mourinho has made a habit of hopping from club to club, winning league titles, the Champions League and garnering plenty of other accolades in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain. The Portuguese manager has had a knack for leaving a club after a spell of success for another.

With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that the "Special One" isn't looking to leave Real Madrid just yet.  

While he insists that his managerial future lay in England, his immediate future is in Spain — presumably until he knocks rivals Barcelona off the top spot or wins the Champions League.  

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Do you think a Kroenke takeover would be good for Arsenal? Do you see either Tottenham or Inter completing a shock comeback in the Champions League? Where do you see De Gea winding up next season? How much longer do you think Mourinho will stay in Madrid?

Share your thoughts below.

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