ALHAJI Aliko Dangote’s plans to purchase English Premier League side Arsenal in the wake of the European Super League saga have suffered a major setback after current owners the Kroenke family has declared that they will not sell the club.
Currently sitting in mid table in the league, despite struggling over recent years, Arsenal were one of the 12 teams that planned to form a breakaway European Super League. Seen as an elitist gang-up that has no regard for the fans, news of the creation of the breakaway league has fuelled calls for the owners of the clubs to leave.
Arsenal fans have been calling for current owner, American billionaire Stan Kroenke to sell his stake in the club and leave. Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Dangote, 63, is valued at £8.5bn ($12bn) and is a big Gunners fan, who has repeated tried to purchase a majority stake in the English Premiership side.
He has made several unsuccessful bids for the club over the last five years but each has been rebuffed by Mr Kroenke. A recent social media poll conducted by www.football.london, in the wake of the Super League saga showed that Arsenal fans are keen for Alhaji Dangote to take over the club.
In the poll, a majority of Arsenal fans said they would like Alhaji Dangote to buy the club and return it to the summit of English football with his financial backing. Another bid backed by Swedish billionaire Daniel Ek, the co-founder of music streaming service Spotify, which has the backing of former Arsenal players Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, and Patrick Vieira is also being lined up.
However, Mr Kroenke has dismissed all these bids, saying that he is not selling any stake and will not entertain any offer. Josh Kroenke, his son and a director at the club, recently told Arsenal staff that they would not consider any sale.
He said: “In recent days we have noted media speculation regarding a potential takeover bid for Arsenal Football Club. We remain 100% committed to Arsenal and are not selling any stake in the club.
“We have not received any offer and we will not entertain any offer. Our ambition for Arsenal remains to compete to win the biggest trophies in the game and our focus remains on improving our competitiveness on the pitch to achieve this.”
Over the last three years, Alhaji Dangote has put his plans to buy the club on hold as he focused on building Africa’s largest refinery in Lagos. His Dangote Refinery in the Ibeju-Lekki suburb of Lagos has now been completed, leaving the billionaire to return his attention to Arsenal.