LONDON — MLS commissioner Don Garber says Stan Kroenke would be a positive addition for Arsenal if the American businessman completes his buyout of the Premier League club.
Kroenke, who owns the Colorado Rapids, increased his stake in the Gunners to 28.7 percent last week, 1.2 percent short of the threshold that instigates a mandatory offer for the remaining shares.
While the 62-year-old famously guards his privacy, earning the nickname "Silent Stan," Garber said he talked to Kroenke about his plans for Arsenal.
"Stan Kroenke is very, very bright and a capable sports man – with his NBA teams, NHL teams and Major League Soccer team – and I think he will be a good owner of Arsenal," Garber said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "He's a strong silent type, and I think that's not necessarily the worst thing when it comes to sports team owners."
Kroenke also owns the Denver Nuggets and the Colorado Avalanche.
"He's very loyal. He's a very quiet and a strategic thinker," Garber said. "He doesn't make rash decisions, and I think fans will be really pleased at whatever role he and his people decide to take with Arsenal."
While Kroenke is already a director at the north London club, the next largest shareholder – Uzbekistan-born billionaire Alisher Usmanov – is not on the club board despite owning just over 25 percent of the Gunners.
Garber said Kroenke's soccer philosophy jells with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who has prioritized bringing in young players.
"He's very passionate about football, very much so," Garber said of Kroenke. "He loves professional sports and loves his teams. He built one of the great stadium complexes in Major League Soccer, he has a complex in Denver that also has 24 youth fields around it that hundreds of thousands, millions of youngsters play on.
"It's part of his understanding of the vertical nature of soccer from youth up to professionals, but also shows his deep commitment to the sport."
Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis, who worked under Garber in the MLS, has hailed Kroenke as a "model owner."
"He will have a great relationship with Ivan and hopefully play a role to build the reputation and image of Arsenal as one of the top clubs in the world," Garber said.
If Kroenke became Arsenal owner he would be the latest American to run a Premier League club, following Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr. at Liverpool, Randy Lerner at Aston Villa, Ellis Short at Sunderland and Malcolm Glazer at Manchester United.