Everton’s move to appoint Rafa Benitez backed by ex-Arsenal shareholder Usmanov

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Alisher Usmanov is backing Everton’s controversial move for former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez.

The former Arsenal shareholder, whose companies invest huge sums in Everton through sponsorship, supports Benitez’ appointment despite unrest from fans and resistance within the club.

Everton owner Farhad Moshiri is pressing ahead with plans to install the Champions League-winning Spanish coach as successor to Carlo Ancelotti, who walked out to join Real Madrid at the end of the season.

Billionaire Usmanov is not a shareholder at Everton, but he is a long-time business partner of Moshiri and his companies such as USM and MegaFon are major sponsors.

It is believed he is in favour of Benitez, despite a backlash from supporters and misgivings within Goodison Park.

There are concerns fans will not take up season tickets if Benitez takes over.

One source said: “There is the feeling that Benitez just will not be accepted ever.

“He could go on a 10-game winning run, lose the 11th and be booed off the pitch.”

Everton have considered former Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo, while Brighton manager Graham Potter was another candidate to take over.

Benitez is a legend on the red half of Merseyside after winning the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005 and the FA Cup in 2006.

Everton fans have made their opposition to his potential arrival clear on social media – but that is yet to dissuade Moshiri.

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