Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote, who is the founder and the owner of the Dangote Group, and is the 67th richest man in the world (the richest businessman in Africa), has spoken of his desire to buy Arsenal in the near future.
Dangote, who is believed to have been a Gooner since the 1980’s, was quoted telling the BBC: “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 [speaking about a previous attempt of his to buy the club]. We backtracked, because we were very busy doing other things, especially our industrialisation. When we get this refinery on track, I will have enough time and enough resources to pay what they are asking for.”
American business entrepreneur Stan Kroenke and Russian-Uzbek business magnate Alisher Usmanov are currently the two major shareholders of Arsenal’s parent company Arsenal Holdings plc, with the men understood to own the rights to 66.64% and 29.11% stake in the club respectively.
Dangote, who had previously also tried to buy the north London side, was also quoted providing his valuable insight into the club’s transfer policies, urging them to follow ‘another strategic direction’. He said that the club need to be directed better to accomplish more than what they currently do, which is just developing and selling players.
The 58 year old may certainly seem more seriously interested in guiding the club to its better days than Kroenke, who has been criticised in the past for his lack of ambition. However, the fact remains that the takeover may take quite a while, even if Dangote is pretty serious about it. Also, Kroenke, who bought more shares in the club recently, is himself understood to be unwilling to sell his share in the club, and may need considerable coaxing before he makes up his mind to do so.