According to Inside World Football, Alisher Usmanov is in the running to become majority shareholder at Belgian side Anderlecht.
The Brussels outfit are on the lookout for a new owner and are currently weighing up proposals from a number of interested parties. It is said that a 75% stake would cost around €80 million.
The report includes a quote from a spokesman for Usmanov’s company USM Holdings which states:
“Mr. Usmanov has received various proposals, including a suggestion regarding the acquisition of RSC Anderlecht, but no decision has been made. Mr. Usmanov remains a loyal and dedicated fan and shareholder of Arsenal.”
A statement from Anderlecht reads: “R.S.C. Anderlecht is carefully considering all offers. They are judged by the added value [they provide] for the club and there is a clear benchmark: RSCA must become better in the long term. RSCA will only communicate if there is an official agreement. The club refrains from all further comment.”
While rules in England ban an owner or director from having an interest in another English club (see the furore over Usmanov’s link with Everton), there’s nothing stopping him from retaining his Arsenal shareholding and investing in a club elsewhere on the continent.
UEFA’s Article 5 rule would kick in if both clubs qualified for either the Champions League or Europa League – the one with the lower UEFA coefficient would not be allowed to compete.
Even then, as evidenced by a recent decision by the Adjudicatory Chamber of the UEFA Club Financial Control Body which allowed RB Leipzig and FC Salzburg to compete in this season’s Champions League despite both being owned by Red Bull, there seems to be some wiggle room.
Of course, Usmanov may be weighing up selling his Arsenal stake and moving his interest to Belgium in totality. That said, it seems unlikely given he’s repeatedly made clear he has no intention of giving up his stake at the Emirates, even without a position on the board.