Pretty much the whole editorial staff at The Short Fuse doesn't care much for Alisher Usmanov, unless he's of the Death Metal variety. He talks way more than he really should, and an Usmanov-led Arsenal would likely turn into just the kind of cash-bleeding club that we don't like all that much. But more than anything else, it's the talking, which often seems like it's designed to destabilize the club and make conditions better for Usmanov before Arsenal.
But hey, even an Uzbek metal magnate can change! In what appears to have been a wide-ranging interview with CNBC, Usmanov moved away from talking about the Federal Reserve's plan to start tapering its bond-buying program and towards Arsenal. And for once, it wasn't all crazy doom and gloom.
He is still upset about not being allowed on the club's board by Stan Kroenke, but maintained that he didn't want to involve himself in the transfer process, saying that the guy Arsenal pay to do that has his head on straight. Via Arseblog News:
Arsene knows better than me what should be done. Of course, we as shareholders point to some drawbacks in the management of the club but he is a great coach and the club is progressing in the commercial sense. It is high time for the club to win the highest trophies in the European Champions League, but I believe in the club’s future.
Being Alisher Usmanov, though, he couldn't stop there and quit while he was ahead.
[Wayne Rooney] is a great player and [joining Arsenal] would be great for Rooney, and Arsenal too.
I preferred the part about believing in the club's future.
Anyway, this is an interesting change in strategy from Usmanov. For as long as I can remember, he's been harping on the need for investment (by him, as board member and owner, primarily) and trying, from all appearances, to drive wedges in any crack that might appear in the Kroenke ownership foundation. Now, to say that we're "progressing" and that he "believes in the club's future"? That's pretty much the opposite of what usually comes out of his mouth.
So what's changed? Has Usmanov seen the new commercial deals that Ivan Gazidis and his team have brought in and decided that Arsenal aren't going to need a sugar daddy any time soon? It's possible. Is he biding his time, as a spider builds a web, simply waiting for a juicy morsel to deposit itself in his lair? Also possible, but I think the first one, or something similar, is far more likely. It's also possible that Usmanov already knows we plan to spend this summer - I'm not a huge fan of him, but you don't get to be the richest man in Russia if you're an idiot, and for him to come out and blatantly say that's the case would be monumentally stupid.
No matter the reason, Usmanov being civil is a good step forward. The next step would be not talking anymore, but if he hasn't gotten that yet with Stan Kroenke as an example, he probably never will. So I'll take this.