Arsenal shareholder joins Moshiri revolution at Everton
Alisher Usmanov behind £75m sponsorship deal for the Toffees amid growing optimism at Goodison Park
Everton have signed a naming rights deal for their Finch Farm training ground with Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov as owner Farhad Moshiri continues his efforts to return the Toffees to the top of the Premier League.
"The deal, combined with new shirt sponsors, will bring in £75m over the next five years for Everton who on Thursday also confirmed the £7.5m signing of Charlton's teenage forward Ademola Lookman," says the Daily Mail. They are also expected to agree a deal for Manchester United midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin this month.
Usmanov, who owns 30.4 per cent of Arsenal, set up the holding company USM in 2012 and Moshiri is chairman of the board of directors. The pair have been business partners for some time and Moshiri acquired his 49.9 per cent stake in Everton after selling his shares in Arsenal to Usmanov.
The deal will also see USM become Everton's shirt sponsor, claims Paul Joyce of The Times.
"The link with Usmanov's business portfolio will do nothing to quell the rumours that he could eventually team up at Everton with Moshiri, who has already given the Merseyside club an £80m interest-free loan," he says. The deal will inevitably mean split loyalties for Usmanov who, like Moshiri before he sold his stake in the Gunners, has become aggravated by his lack of influence at Arsenal.
But Usmanov is under no obligation to cut his ties with the Gunners just yet. "The prospect of a conflict of interest would arise only if Usmanov was involved in the management of two rival clubs, but the Premier League are satisfied that no rules have been broken," says Joyce.
The move could be significant, says Chris Bascombe in the Daily Telegraph. Usmanov's "investment in the Merseysiders will greatly assist the club's ambitious plans on and off the park, as Ronald Koeman seeks to sign new players and a stadium move gathers pace," he says.
It adds to the positive mood at Goodison Park after an annual general meeting on Thursday night that left Evertonians "feeling optimistic, upbeat and in some cases even euphoric", says David Prentice in the Liverpool Echo.
At the meeting Moshiri spoke "positively, ambitiously and enthusiastically, but crucially with a clinical dash of urgency", he says.
Moshiri must make good on his promises, says Joyce of the Times. "He must deliver the shimmering new waterfront stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock and provide the funds for manager Ronald Koeman to replenish a squad in danger of being cut adrift into mid-table obscurity.