Arsenal’s minority shareholder Alisher Usmanov grew his net worth by nearly $3 billion over the past year to $15.2 billion, according to the latest figures from Forbes, with majority shareholder Stan Kroenke valued at $7.5 billion.
The figures show the combined net worth of Arsenal’s two biggest shareholders is more than twice that of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, whose assets are valued at $9.1 billion in Forbes’ 2017 list of the world’s richest men.
Usmanov’s wealth is a source of frustration for many Arsenal fans, as the club has refused to tap into the Russian tycoon’s vast resources to boost their purchasing power on the transfer market.
Usmanov owns just over 30 percent of Arsenal but has not been given a seat on the board and is being kept at arms length by the club. Kroenke, meanwhile, has drawn the ire of a large portion of the fan base for only taking money out of the club in past years while not using his own wealth to fund transfer spending in the same way Abramovich has done at Chelsea.
Unlike some rivals like Chelsea and Manchester City, Arsenal have insisted on running a self-sustaining financial model where they don’t spend more money than the club makes. But Arsenal’s struggles to compete both on the transfer market and on the pitch have led to increasing calls from fans to give Usmanov more influence over the club’s finances.
Usmanov was once listed as the richest man in Russia with a peak net worth of $18.6 billion in 2014, but that dwindled to $12.5 billion last year because of falling metals prices and weak Russian currency.
The Forbes list ranks Usmanov as the 66th richest man in the world, with Abramovich at 139 and Kroenke at 182.
Mexico’s telecom tycoon Carlos Slim remains the richest man in football, despite the Real Oviedo owner slipping to No. 6 on the list with a fortune of $54.5 billion.
Other notable football investors include Wang Jianlin of China, who owns a stake in Atletico Madrid and is 18th on the list with a net worth of $31.3 billion, while Rennes owner Francois Pinault is just above Usmanov. Hoffenheim owner Dietmar Hopp is No. 140 with $9 billion, while Fulham’s Shahid Khan trails behind with a mere $8.2 billion.