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Arsenal will soon be an American team as Stan Kroenke's billions hold sway

April 11, 2011 |  4:46 pm

Arsenal_375 Stan Kroenke, that mustachioed man about town, is about to land himself an honest-to-goodness, this-really-puts-me-on-the-global-map sports team.

It's all very well being the owner of the NFL's St. Louis Rams, the NBA's Denver Nuggets, the NHL's Colorado Avalanche, Major League Soccer's Colorado Rapids and the National Lacrosse League's Colorado Mammoth, but who has ever heard of any of them outside  of, say, Denver or St. Louis?

Now, Kroenke, 63, is poised to become the outright owner of Arsenal.

That's Arsenal, as in the English Premier League, as in the European Champions League, as in a 125-year-old club with a world-renowned coach in Arsene Wenger and internationally known players such as Cesc Fabregas, Andrei Arshavin, Samir Nasri, Robin van Persie and all the rest.

Kroenke is about to become the heaviest gun in the Gunners' Arsenal, and all it will cost him is a cool $1.2 billion.

In case the English have not been paying attention -- always a good bet -- that means one-quarter of the Premier League is now in American hands, with the top three teams each being in U.S. control, Liverpool (John Henry) and Manchester United (Malcolm Glazer) having previously been acquired.

Stan-kroenke_175 Add in Aston Villa (Randy Lerner) and Sunderland (Ellis Short) and it makes a mockery of the long-espoused MLS argument that American money would never invest in a league that allowed promotion and relegation.

Of more interest to Arsenal fans globally, however, is how many more dollars Kroenke would be willing to invest in order to end the team's six-year trophy drought.

With Manchester United already set to invest millions and Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur needing to do so, it is shaping up as an intriguing summer in the transfer market.

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-- Grahame L. Jones

Photos: (Top) A woman has her picture taken next to the Arsenal emblem at the Emirates Stadium in London. Credit: Kerim Okten / EPA. (Bottom) Stan Kroenke at a Saints game in New Orleans. Credit: Scott Rovak / EPA

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