Those hoping to see African billionaire, Aliko Dangote chase Stan Kroenke out of North London in 2020, may need to find another dream to cling to.
It was rumoured that Dangote was prepared to make his move after the completion of his oil refinery but it has been suggested by a number of sources that this is just an attempt to raise his profile globally. He is, by his own admission, a devoted supporter of the club but doubts have surfaced about his intentions and if they and he are genuine.
“I’m very attached to Arsenal but if he won’t sell, I might have to change. I’m a fan of football. I don’t have to own Arsenal.
By the time we’ve finished the oil refinery, we’ll be a $30bn company in revenue.”
— Gunners.com (@Gunnersc0m) November 7, 2018
“My love for Arsenal dates back to when I went to watch them play with the-then largest shareholder David Dein. I developed a likeness for the team and I have been a supporter of the team since then. So it is not overnight stuff.”
So far, so good. Though some have suggested that this behaviour is nothing new and that Dangote has expressed similar desires to buy various businesses in the past, none of which actually happened or looked remotely likely.
Pulse pointed out that Dangote has been talking about buying Arsenal since 2015 and that the subject comes up every six months, normally for the camera and then it’s forgotten about again. Others say he doesn’t support Arsenal or follow football and that he has also said that if any bid to own the gunners failed, he would look elsewhere.
Ah, not so good and probably in it for the publicity after all. When someone talks in those negative terms, I worry that perhaps their so called obsession is more of a whim or passing notion and that anything they say has to be measured with caution. It’s also reported that Dangote promised $1m to the Nigerian team after winning the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON)that was in 2015, they are still waiting to see the colour of the money. So, possibly someone that never makes good on a promise.
Yet Dangote talks in a compelling, assertive way. He captures the attention of a willing listener and sounds as if he means what he says. Like Kroenke, Dangote is unbelievably wealthy and is reportedly worth an estimated $10.6 billion compared to Kroenke’s miserable $8.8 billion, so he could easily afford to buy Arsenal and still have change for a cappuccino and a sticky bun.
A less appealing similarity between the two is that the American and Africa have no experience of top flight football. That could mean in reality that Dangote is more likely to become a type of annoying fan that wants to exert his control at every level, even buying the club’s players without the managers consent.
Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, worth an estimated £10b, has reaffirmed his desire to buy Arsenal, but only after the completion of his oil refinery project in Lagos.
Dangote: “We will go after Arsenal from 2020, even if somebody buys, we will still go after it.” [Reuters] pic.twitter.com/3Be4vmNNC6
— afcstuff (@afcstuff) July 25, 2018
He has a been outspoken on the subject of Arsenal in the past and was particularly negative about Arsene Wenger, which will hardly help smooth his passage to the boardroom, even if there was interest.
Dangote may well be another wealthy blaggard that has his own agenda to fulfil and cares little for the club, we’ve already got one of those. Looking deeper, there is an assumption that Dangote wants immortality and that he wants recognition as Africa’s most prominent industrialist.
His refinery will go someway to elevating Dangote Industries profile around the world and will lead to a significant increase in annual revenue, from around $4 billion to about $30 billion. So what else is there to do ?The answer of course, is to but the ultimate accessory, such as a globally recognised football club that can fly the Dangote crest, if he has one or at the very least the Nigerian flag high over the Emirates.
The biggest problem is Kroenke’s resolve and it’s thought that the American sees his sporting ventures as part of a lasting family legacy. So even if Dangote were serious about making an offer, It’s unlikely that the American will even blink at any figure he puts forward.
He got rid of his last competitor, Alisher Usmanov, with frustrating ease by doing nothing and ignoring him. Many, including myself, thought that the Russian would find a way to take control but it appears that Kroenke is as stubborn as he is stingy.
In the Kroenke portfolio, Arsenal reaches out to a far bigger audience that the LA Rams and the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, so why would he want to part with the Jewell in his crown. No doubt, Kroenke is waiting to get in on the ‘super league’ action that apparently isn’t being discussed in secret at various London Hotels.
It is good to see the rest of the boys at Arsenal feel they have a point to prove. If only they had an ambitious owner like Aliko Dangote or Alisher Usmanov.
— JJ. Omojuwa (@Omojuwa) January 25, 2018
A super league is certainly another way to increase his revenue and profile simultaneously and although such a move would kill off the premier league, it would maintain the club’s image at the highest level.
As for Dangote, we haven’t got long to wait to find out if he has the desire to match his money. This may be another case of being careful what you wish for, more instability may not be good for the club at this time.