Alisher Usmanov might have been handed a boost regarding his plans for further investment at Everton.
But in August 2018 he accepted an offer of £550m from Stan Kroenke for his shares and as a result, the American billionaire became the club’s sole shareholder.
Although the Gunners weren’t the only club Usmanov had invested in.
Since 2017, Usmanov’s USM Holdings have sponsored the Everton training ground and an extension to the deal last summer saw them become Everton’s Official Matchday Presenting Partner, with the MegaFon logo appearing around Goodison Park and on the sleeve of the players’ training kits.
And Usmanov revealed last year that he was ready to increase his involvement with the Merseyside outfit.
The Russian, who is a close friend of Toffees’ majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri, hinted at striking a deal for the naming rights at the club’s new stadium.
“Yes. With great pleasure, if he asks,” he told the Financial Times, when asked if he would like to join Moshiri at Everton. “I am thinking about my investment in this club. I cannot reject Arsenal.
“I will not leave them as a fan. But if I join Everton, then I will wear an Everton shirt, because I am a professional.
“They are going to build a new stadium. Why not the USM Arena?
“It is not obligatory for me to participate myself. I could just sponsor them.”
Usmanov’s hopes of striking a deal for the naming rights appear to have been given a major boost with the Liverpool Echo reporting that Everton have been informed that plans to develop a new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock can proceed.
The report states that Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, had been reviewing the planning permission for the last month but gave the green light on Friday.
And an Everton statement reads: “That government review, standard practice for a development of the size and scale of Everton’s stadium plans, was conducted after Liverpool City Council’s Planning Committee had unanimously approved the plans on February 23.
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“The club received written confirmation of the Secretary of State’s approval for the plans today.
“The decision to approve a new 52,888-capacity waterfront arena allows the Club to complete its agreed acquisition of the site from Peel L&P and the funding solution for the project, ensuring the club can begin to make the plans a reality.”
Everton hope to move into their new home by the beginning of the 2024-25 season, but will Usmanov get his wish to name it the USM Arena?