Back in August 2016, Arseblog News reported – based on info from a solid source – that Alisher Usmanov was thinking about joining Farhad Moshiri in investing in Everton.
Usmanov was quick to shoot down the story at the time but appears to have changed his tune.
Having agreed to sell his stake in the Gunners to majority shareholder Stan Kroenke, it appears the Uzbek-born businessman is indeed interested in helping the Toffees.
“We are friends with Farhad Moshiri,” he told Bloomberg. “If he needs the support, I am happy to help.
“Should there be a proposal or a possibility to invest in them with good potential returns, I would consider the deal.”
Despite links with AC Milan, Anderlecht and AS Roma, you can’t help but think that Everton has been Usmanov’s fallback option for quite some time.
So…how did we get here? Here’s a speedy recap.
Usmanov and Moshiri’s company Red & White Holdings first invested in Arsenal back in 2007 when they bought the stake of former CEO David Dein. They went head-to-head with Kroenke, who’d also invested in the club on Dein’s advice, in an attempt to wrestle control at the Emirates. Red & White quickly accelerating their investment to just shy of 30% by 2011.
In April 2011, Kroenke won the battle that would eventually win the war. The American consolidated his credentials as the club’s majority shareholder by securing 66.64% of the club following the purchase of shares from Nina Bracewell-Smith and Danny Fiszman. He refused to allow Usmanov and Moshiri to take positions on the board, a decision that ultimately frustrated the duo.
The latter was the first to buckle, selling his stake in Arsenal to Usmanov and then reinvesting in Everton in February 2016. Usmanov made a desperate attempt to buy all of Kroenke’s shares in May 2017 – generally viewed as a last throw of the dice – but was again rebuffed.
Last week, it was confirmed that Kroenke had agreed to buy Usmanov’s 30.04% stake and that he’ll be taking the club into private hands. Usmanov, having made around £400 million on his initial investment in the Gunners, is now free to take his cash elsewhere.
Everton seems like a logical choice. In fact, one of his companies USM, has already agreed a deal to sponsor the Merseyside club’s training ground. His close ties with Moshiri were even the subject of a BBC investigation.
A cash-rich oligarch with a grudge against us…just what we need in the ever competitive Premier League.