by Lewis Ambrose
Aliko Dangote isn’t a name that you’re likely to be particularly familiar with, but he’s an Arsenal fan just like me.
Unlike me he is Nigerian, he is a businessman, and he is rich.
Dangote has an estimated wealth of a massive £11.5 billion, and has supported the Arsenal since the 1980s. His dream? To own the club, says BBC Sport.
From his comments it seems that he has even already made some steps into enquiring about the club as he claims to know how much it would take to buy from the likes of Alisher Usmanov and Stan Kroenke.
Currently buliding an oil refinery, Dangote believes he will then have enough money to launch a takeover bid.
“When we get this refinery on track, I will have enough time and enough resources to pay what they are asking for,” Dangote said.
As far as I’m aware Stan Kroenke is here for the long-term, even adding his son Josh to the board last year to ensure longevity.
Dangote enquired about the 15.9% stake in the club that Kroenke purchased from Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith back in 2011 but was – obviously – unsuccessful.
“There were a couple of us who were rushing to buy, and we thought with the prices then, the people who were interested in selling were trying to go for a kill,” Dangote added.
“We backtracked, because we were very busy doing other things, especially our industrialisation.”
Now he doesn’t seem to have realised that the opportunity has passed, unless Alisher Usmanov can be convinced to sell.
Usmanov owns 30.04% of the club’s parent company Arsenal Holdings plc, and has been unsuccessful in his attempts to muscle his way onto the board. Maybe he will grow frustrated and attempt to sell eventually.
On the whole, Dangote was pretty scathing about the way the club has been run.
“They are doing well, but they need another strategic direction. They need more direction than the current situation, where they just develop players and sell them.”
Maybe he doesn’t quite get what we’re about.
Our entire model is about developing young talent and being self-sustaining.
With recent success and big money deals finally being financed by commercial revenue and the move to Emirates Stadium we are no longer ‘just’ developing and selling players.
Previously we had no choice, and now we do our way of acting in the transfer market has changed. With two FA Cup successes in as many years we are now reaping the rewards on the field without any outside investment, just as we have always wanted.
Sorry, Mr. Dangote, I’d like to own Arsenal as well. It just isn’t going to happen.