Everton have sealed a five-year deal over naming rights with Arsenal’s billionaire shareholder, Alisher Usmanov’s, company, USM Holdings.
It makes sense considering Usmanov’s business partner, Farhad Moshiri, became Everton’s majority shareholder last February after selling his Arsenal shares to the Russian.
As a result, the Toffee’s training ground, Finch Farm, will be renamed USM Finch Farm (catchy) and there will be advertising for their company around Goodison Park on match days.
Although Usmanov still only holds 30.04% of Arsenal, with Stan Kroenke holding 67.05% and 2.91% held by nominee names, it still seems rather shady that his company can be tied to another Premier League team. Although, if people aren’t privy to Usmanov’s general shadiness by now, I don’t know what to tell them.
Moshiri now holds 49.9% of Everton, has paid off £80m in debts and is pushing for a move to a new stadium and, apparently, it’s all down to Usmanov.
“The reason I got into Arsenal was because my business partner is a crazy fan of Arsenal and we do most things together,” Moshiri said.
“I had looked at a number of clubs [to become a major shareholder] having been at Arsenal for a long time as a minor shareholder.”
Usmanov has been pretty vocal in the past about his support of Arsenal as a club, as well as Arsene Wenger as a manager.
In March 2016, the Russian business tycoon sang Wenger’s praises, saying, “Arsenal’s results are stable. They are always among the leaders of the English Premier League. This is a good and large sports business project, and I am pleased with it.
“The only thing is that today such situation occurred, like in any sport, there are ups and downs. The club must retain its major symbol and main asset – manager Arsene Wenger.
“Failures have been haunting Arsenal for many years now, they cannot become the EPL champions. This has led to some discontent with Wenger’s position as a manager.
“I believe that Arsene Wenger is a great coach, and Arsenal have to give him the opportunity to plan the succession process and leave his legacy when he deems it necessary.
“It is very important for the football club to maintain the principles that were established by those people who created its victories. Arsenal need Arsene Wenger.”
With Wenger out of contract at the end of this season, I wonder what Usmanov makes of Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe being the favourite to take over according to most Premier League betting sites.