Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov believes the club's nine-year trophy drought could have been avoided had the Gunners not gone into debt to build the Emirates Stadium.
Arsene Wenger's men beat Hull in last season's FA Cup final to claim their first piece of silverware since winning the same competition in 2005 with a penalty shoot-out victory over Manchester United.
Arsenal played just one more season at their old Highbury home after that victory before moving to the Emirates in 2006 and are now starting to see the commercial benefits of the 60,000-seater stadium, with new revenue streams coming into force which have allowed them to be more aggressive in the transfer market.
But Usmanov, whose Red & White Holdings group own just over 30 per cent of the club but are yet to be represented on the board, believes alternative financing of the new ground could have brought a fresh trophy to the internal roll of honour which runs around the stadium faster.
Possible Arsenal starting XI for the Community Shield v Manchester City
Possible Arsenal starting XI for the Community Shield v Manchester City
1/9 Mathieu Debuchy
Debuchy arrived as the replacement for the departed-Bacary Sagna, who joined Manchester City on a free transfer at the end of the season. Despite being favoured by France coach Didier Deschamps at the World Cup, many Arsenal fans felt Sagna enjoyed one of his best season’s before his exit, and Debuchy will have a lot to live up to if he is to justify his £12m move to the Gunners.
2/9 Calum Chambers
Despite signing for the club this summer, Chambers looks set to start the Community Shield given that Per Mertesacker is yet to return to the club. The 19-year-old impressed during the Emirates Cup, but the Premier League champions will pose a major threat to the young English talent.
3/9 Laurent Koscielny
The Frenchman formed a consistent partnership with Mertesacker last season, but his ability to play alongside Vermaelen still remains in the balance are a string of less than convincing showings over the past two years. Nevertheless, he has developed in to one of the key players among the current Arsenal squad, and has shown an eye for a goal when he is allowed to get in the box at set-pieces.
4/9 Kieran Gibbs
Gibbs overcame a number of long-term injuries to solidify his place as Arsenal’s first-choice left-back, seeing off the challenge of first Andre Santos and now Nacho Monreal. Hopwever, he is yet to reach the performances of his predecessors Ashley Cole and Gael Clichy, although at 24 years old he still has time to nurture his talent and rival Luke Shaw for the England left-back berth in the years to come. He brings a calmness to the Arsenal left flank, which tends to look rather exposed when he is absent.
5/9 Jack Wilshere
Arsenal’s golden boy has been in the headlines for the wrong reasons this summer, and he faces a potentially career defining season ahead of him that could determine his Arsenal future. With Aaron Ramsey enjoying his best season to date last year that saw him win the club’s player of the season award, Wilshere needs to push on or face being replaced in the first team. A number of injuries have not helped his cause, but a good start to the season could really help him cement his place for both club and country.
6/9 Alexis Sanchez
Much like Özil, a lot will be expected to come from Sanchez on the basis that the Gunners shelled out – by their standards – a significant fee to sign him from Barcelona. Sanchez is blessed with speed and his natural instincts in front of goal should help him settle quicker than Özil, but he will be judged on his number of goals. Wenger could look to start him through the middle, although the absence of the injured Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s recovery from injury is likely to see Sanchez start his Arsenal career on the right wing.
7/9 Aaron Ramsey
The Gunners will be hopeful that Ramsey can maintain his level of performance from last season after appearing to overcome the thigh injury that kept him out for nearly four months last term. The Welshman was a prominent figure in the Gunners title challenge, and there is no reason why they can’t win further silverware next season with a fit Ramsey in the side. The confidence he should gain from scoring the winning goal in an FA Cup final should see him push on even further.
8/9 Santi Cazorla
The Spanish magician is a wanted man with interest coming from La Liga champions Atletico Madrid, but Arsenal fans will not want him to leave after showing moments of genius since arriving at the Emirates. He has the tendency to blow hot or cold, as he tends to go missing when he’s not at his best, but his best is a joy to watch. Faces a much bigger fight to keep his place this season following the arrival of Sanchez which could see the attacking midfield trio rejigged to accommodate the Chile star.
9/9 Olivier Giroud
Despite calls for him to be replaced – or at least given support – Giroud is likely to continue as Arsenal’s lead striker, at least until the return to fitness of Walcott. Sanchez could take his place through the middle should he start the season slowly, but after showing more last season than he did in his first year with the club, there is an expectation that Giroud can push on further. If he can cut out his habit to miss clear-cut opportunities time and again, he could well contest the league’s top scorer award.
"I think that Arsenal's planning was based on acquiring the new stadium, a decision taken by the previous owners," he told the Daily Telegraph.
"The acquisition was financed with debt, which would be repaid through match-day revenues among other sources.
"There is another way of doing it: when shareholders buy all of the assets and contribute them to the club. As a result, these debt-free assets may generate income for the club.
Video: Arsenal win the FA Cup
"It is always up to the shareholders to choose which model to adopt.
"The board and main shareholders chose the debt option at the time, which led to Arsenal going almost 10 years without winning a domestic title or the Champions League.
"The first trophy only arrived in the 10th year.
"As a result of this choice, they were selling players and were unable to buy top players.
"These difficulties have now been overcome and the team is in a good state; the club's finances are in order and I believe that Arsene Wenger and the club's CEO (Ivan Gazidis) will manage them correctly."
Usmanov has never been afraid to voice concerns over the direction of the club, and wrote an open letter in 2012 criticising what he saw as too prudent an approach within the self-sustaining business model.
But with the Gunners spending big to acquire Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez in the past two summers, the Uzbek billionaire believes Wenger's team can now challenge for more silverware.
"The club is very well placed to succeed," he said.
"I think we begin a new era for Arsenal where we win trophies. That is most important for football.
"In my opinion, in line with the existing rules, the club has the correct decision-making process in place, including their selection policy, especially now, when they have the means to buy the best players."
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