Arsenal FC shareholder Alisher Usmanov insisted that the club is entering a new era of success and disclosed his relation with the board and Stan Kroenke.
Alisher Usmanov hasn’t always had a good relationship with the Arsenal board, especially Stan Kroenke, after his failed attempt to be the majority shareholder at the London club. But things have improved recently and with the Gunners entering a new era of financial stability, Usmanov is confident that trophies will find its way to the Emirates, sooner rather than later.
Arsenal ended their long trophy drought last season as Arsene Wenger’s men lifted the FA Cup. The Gunners are in fantastic financial health currently with new sponsorship and kit deals on the table and are beginning to flex their muscle in the transfer market this summer.
Usmanov believes the club will find success in this new era and has faith in decision makers who are in charge.
“The club is very well placed to succeed. I think we begin a new era for Arsenal where we win trophies. That is most important for football.
“In my opinion, in line with the existing rules, the club has the correct decision-making process in place, including their selection policy, especially now, when they have the means to buy the best players.” – The Arsenal shareholder said.
The Russian business magnet also explained how the board’s decision to pay off the debts, before spending, initiated this long trophy drought.
“I think that Arsenal’s planning was based on acquiring the new stadium, a decision taken by the previous owners. The acquisition was financed with debt, which would be repaid through match-day revenues among other sources.
“There is another way of doing it: when shareholders buy all of the assets and contribute them to the club. As a result, these debt-free assets may generate income for the club. It is always up to the shareholders to choose which model to adopt.
“The board and main shareholders chose the debt option at the time, which led to Arsenal going almost 10 years without winning a domestic title or the Champions League. The first trophy only arrived in the 10th year.
“As a result of this choice, they were selling players and were unable to buy top players. These difficulties have now been overcome and the team is in a good state; the club’s finances are in order and I believe that Arsene Wenger and the club’s CEO [Ivan Gazidis] will manage them correctly.” – He added.
Usmanov revealed that although he now shares a good relationship with most of the board members, he is yet to talk with Stan Kroenke.
“I have not had any contact with Mr Kroenke. Those who control the club run the club. Mr Kroenke’s group controls the club and they control the day-to-day management.
“I hold a 30 per cent stake in Arsenal and therefore, the board’s success is shareholders’ success.” – Usmanov said.