On the Wenger question, which is the big issue facing Arsenal just now, Usmanov’s approach is not substantially different to that of Kroenke. His esteem for Wenger is also very high and, while he is not saying that the Frenchman should be sacked, he does think that he takes on too much.
Arsenal seem to agree. They want to appoint an operations/sporting director and are in the process of reassuring Wenger that such an appointment would not cut into his core role. Usmanov wants Wenger to have the chance “to prepare a successor”.
The perception that Usmanov would unleash a huge spending spree comparable to that of Roman Abramovich or Sheikh Mansour is probably also misguided. He has told The Telegraph that he supports the principals of financial fair-play and spending within your own resources, although he does offer an alternative to how the Emirates Stadium should have been financed.
He wanted a ‘rights issue’ among shareholders that would effectively allow investors to fund the stadium cost which has largely now been paid off over the past decade. Usmanov’s idea would have spared Arsenal their capital repayments on the stadium debt and also annual interest charges that were around £20 million.