Everton have found themselves in hot water after they were handed a ten-point deduction for breaching Premier League Financial Fair Play rules, and David Ornstein believes Arsenal could have been in a similar position had their current owners not made a huge decision five years ago.
Part of the £124.5 million losses (£19.5m over the EPL budget of £105m) the Toffees made was because former Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov had his assets frozen during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
As a result, Everton suspended their partnership with his holding company USM, including a five-year deal worth more than £12m.
Usmanov had 30% shares with the Gunners for five years before Stan Kroenke bought them for £550m in 2018.
The decision to buy the shares from the Uzbek-Russian businessman appears to have saved Arsenal as things might have been different had he owned shares at the club when the European Union blacklisted him, imposed an EU-wide travel ban on him and froze all his assets in February 2022.
“You’ll look at clubs like Arsenal for example who had, as a large minority shareholder, Alisher Usmanov at some point,” Ornstein said on Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE.
“Who with Farhad Moshiri moved over to Everton and a lot of the problems Everton are facing are due to the loss of money that was on behalf of Usmanov.
“You could say that might have been Arsenal had things worked out differently and KSE, the Kroenke family hadn’t taken full control.
“There were so many questions about “why aren’t you spending more money for so many years?”.
“And clubs like Arsenal, now Manchester United and even Newcastle under their Saudi ownership are saying “we can’t because of financial fair play rules and profit and sustainability.”
““We don’t want to break them because of the potential consequences”, and perhaps now we are seeing why they were so firm on that.
“And maybe their supporters will give back a little bit of credit or reduce their frustration that they expressed at lack of spending because if you’re not careful it could be you in this position.
“Ultimately, whatever the politics or agenda around this – and there will be so much conversation and conspiracy theory – the Premier League are clearly trying to get tough and show they can govern properly and create a league that has the trust of the people.”
Some Arsenal fans wanted the Kroenkes out two years ago, but things have changed since then as the North London club have turned into title challengers since last term.
They have invested smartly under manager Mikel Arteta, deciding to only sign Spain international goalkeeper David Raya on loan from Brentford in the summer having already spent over £200m on players at the time.
The American owners saved Arsenal in 2018 with their decision to buy out Usmanov and have largely taken decisions favouring the club despite what the fans think.