This is about as good a time as any to revive this topic, eh?
Last week, Farhad Moshiri sold his stake in Arsenal to his business partner Alisher Usmanov to help towards his efforts in gaining a significant ownership stake in Everton. That put Usmanov’s Arsenal ownership stake at just a touch above 30%. While he’s far behind Stan Kroenke’s stake in Arsenal, he’s been lurking in the shadows since 2007. He’s steadfastly maintained he’s in the club for the long haul, that he doesn’t plan on selling his shares, and that he and Kroenke must find a way to co-exist, at minimum.
With the way Arsenal’s season has started to go pear shaped, yet again, and the league dynamics changing ever so quickly both within the table and within Arsenal’s rivals (not to mention former relegation-survivors-turned-league-leaders competing against them), which of our two major shareholders would you rather have to guide the club through this extremely weird, fun, odd time in Arsenal’s history? Stan Kroenke, or Alisher Usmanov?
On one hand, Stan Kroenke offers long-term financial stability and growth, a history of boosting revenues in teams he owns, and a hands-off ownership approach that affords his management staff to operate in a relatively open and free manner. Were it most other owners, the leash Arsene Wenger’s possessed during the Kroenke era would have probably been much shorter. That is to say, Kroenke understands his expertise is in growing the business, and he entrusts the people he pays to run the sporting side of the club to make crucial, vital decisions with minimal intrusion.
On the other hand, whether by Wenger’s insistence or other unknown reasons and factors, Kroenke hasn’t done much to stem the tide of continual late-season collapses that were once common in Arsenal sides constructed during an era of financial prudence following the move from Highbury to Ashburton Grove.
Then we have Mr. Alisher Usmanov. Pun fully intended he’s a larger-than-life character who comes from a similar background and history of his crosstown Russian counterpart and rival, Roman Abramovich. A man whose net worth puts him as the 73rd richest human being on earth, Usmanov’s checkered history and brashness has made him both a scary and intriguing prospect were he ever to fully gain control of the club. He has far more money than he probably knows what to do with it, and he’s made it very clear over the years of his disapproval of substandard performances on the pitch. Were it up to him he would have spent a vast amount of the club’s cash reserves (and, possibly, some of his own money) on significantly upgrading the playing squad to get past the level they’ve been at for a number of years.
However, Usmanov’s hasn’t completely made his intentions towards any sort of investment in the club clear; the expenditure must be accounted for somewhere. Were he to invest out of his own pocket, he’d more than likely heap the depreciable debts onto the club’s books that are otherwise absent of such obligations. Would a shot at domestic and European glory for a couple years be worth the potential of insurmountable debt?
So let’s hear it. Who would you prefer, and why?