It’s easy to dismiss Aliko Dangote’s claims that he will table a bid with Stan Kroenke to buy Arsenal football club in 2021 but there are financial implications that could make it entirely plausible. Kroenke has presided over a team that is currently in accelerated decline domestically and on the lucrative European stage and there are no guarantees that they will be a competitive force in the near future.
The reality of not operating at the highest level is that Arsenal are thought to be losing between £40m and £80m per season. After four years without the Champions League, a considerable strain has been placed on resources, with the club unable to replace that type of lucrative revenue stream.
In the year ending May 31 2019, accounts showed a £30million loss in matchday revenue and this subsequently tipped them from a pre-tax profit of £97.4million to a pre-tax loss of £23.5million because of inadequate performances. There is also a knock on effect in other areas of the business with commercial revenue dropping from £117m to £107m in 2017/18.
The wave of protests under Arsene Wenger and Unai Emery, that saw huge areas of the stadium left empty are hard to account for in terms of lost revenue, simply because the club appears to have tweaked the attendance figures.
Myself and others have questioned the figures on a number of occasions. Against Eintracht Frankfurt in 2019, Arsenal had 45,000 season ticket holders, but the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust said that the actual attendance at the Emirates could have been as low as 30,000.
It’s only in the light of these types of figures that Kroenke must regret not giving Wenger the funds to revitalise the team. I’ve said it before, success generates revenue and the revenue can be used to achieve greater success, something that the highly experienced businessman has failed to appreciate.
At this rate, Kroenke will have to consider a sale to keep his empire going forward. Aliko Dangote could be a ready made escape route if Arsenal fail to compete for the Premier League title and fail to qualify for the Champions League for the next few seasons.