Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote is planning on launching a takeover bid for Premier League side Arsenal FC. His first move, in the event that he succeeds in buying the club, would be to fire Arsene Wenger.
“The first thing I would change is the coach,” said Dangote in an interview with Bloomberg. “He has done a good job, but someone else should also try his luck.”
The 60-year-old Dangote, with a net worth of €9.5 billion, has fancied the team since he became a supporter in the mid-1980s. He says he will make an offer to buy the Premier League club once the construction of an oil refinery in Lagos is completed toward the end of the decade.
Offers for Arsenal
Stan Kroenke is currently Arsenal's biggest shareholder, controlling 67% of the club. Earlier this year, the Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, an Arsenal’s minority shareholder, made an attempt to buy the club. He offered just over €1bn. However, Kroenke rejected the bid, insisting that he was committed to the club.
But Dangote believes that he can convince both Kroenke and Usmanov into selling the club, which is currently valued at just over €2bn.
“If they get the right offer, I’m sure they would walk away,” said the Nigerian. “Someone will give them an offer that will make them seriously consider walking away. And when we finish the refinery, I think we will be in a position to do that.”
Wenger: An Arsenal institution
Arsene Wenger is one of Europe’s longest serving managers. He was appointed to Arsenal in 1996, and since then he’s won three Premier League titles and seven FA Cup trophies.
Despite finishing fifth in the Premier League table, this summer he signed a new two-year deal, ending months of speculation over his future. Poor results have led some Arsenal fans to call for Wenger to be sacked.
The upcoming Champions League will be the first one in over 20 years in which the London-based club does not participate.