Aliko Dangote Arsenal takeover: What the headlines don’t tell you

Aliko Dangote ‘can start talks this summer’ and ‘Arsenal are open to a sale’ claim a number of news outlets but is not what they want you to think it is.

You might have noticed there are a number of reports claiming that Aliko Dangote can start talks with Arsenal ‘soon’ about taking over the club, but these are not only misleading they’re very naughty as no takeover, or talks, is planned.

Arsenal and Stan Kroenke certainly aren’t open to a sale of any sort.

“Arsenal open to summer sale as Aliko Dangote can start takeover talks with Stan Kroenke,” shouted the headline on Football.london, so surely they must have some new information that I don’t?  They have contacts, perhaps they saw the rehashed quote doing the rounds and got in touch with Dangote’s people in order to find out what’s going on?

Nope.

All they did is the same as was what every other outlet that’s covering this non-story did – publish old quotes and make out like there’s something new happening simply because we’re now in 2021.

Aliko Dangote 2020 quote that’s generating the headlines

“It is a team that yes I would like to buy some day, but what I keep saying is we have $20billion worth of projects and that’s what I really want to concentrate on,” Dangote said in 2020. “I’m trying to finish building the company and then after we finish, maybe some time in 2021 we can.

“I’m not buying Arsenal right now, I’m buying Arsenal when I finish all these projects, because I’m trying to take the company to the next level.”

So, to clarify, Dangote postulated that he might think try to buy Arsenal in 2021 and now we are in 2021 that must mean talks will be happening soon, right?

Because that’s obviously how these things work [I can’t believe it’s 2021 and we still don’t have a sarcasm font].

Aliko Dangote’s Arsenal desire

Dangote has made no secret of his desire to buy Arsenal.

Africa’s richest man’s fortune makes Stan Kroenke look like a pauper, especially with the American seeing his fortune decline by $1.4bn over the past year.

Dangote’s $17.8bn, however, just keeps growing. The 63-year-old first tried to buy a stake in Arsenal in 2010 and over the next five years saw his wealth grow eightfold. In 2015., he was worth $15.2bn.

That still doesn’t mean he’s buying Arsenal or even entering into talks to buy the club. For that, Stan Kroenke would have to want to sell and he’s made it perfectly clear he doesn’t want to do that.

There will be no talks between the pair this summer, I can feel confident predicting that.

It’s not even clear how much Dangote actually wants to buy Arsenal or if he has simply used it as a vehicle to gain publicity outside of his home country.

Either way, this latest round of articles hasn’t come from anything Dangote has done or said recently, it has all stemmed from comments he made in 2020, something many of the pieces fail to mention.

Indeed, if they had wanted to make up a story they could have used Dangote’s quotes from 2016 when he said that he would buy Arsenal in “Maybe three to four years.” and published in 2019 or 2020, speculating the same.

Aliko Dangote sees a bit of sense in 2018

Something else some outlets fail to mention is quotes Dangote made previously about Arsenal. The quote from 2020 was far from the first time that Dangote talked about the club.

For a few years towards the end of Arsene Wenger’s time in charge of the club, it was a popular topic for the man who was also in the process of building a $9bn petroleum oil refinery and petrochemical/fertilizer plant in Nigeria.

In July 2018, Dangote told the Financial Times, “I love Arsenal and I will definitely go for it.” He then told the journalist that he would get involved in rebuilding the team by “chipping in my own advice.

“When I buy it, I have to bring it up to the expectations of our supporters,” he added.

Then, in November 2018, Dangote seemed to acknowledge the reality that Stan Kroenke had no interest in selling when he said, “I’m very attached to Arsenal but if he won’t sell, I might have to change.

“I’m very much a fan of football. I have to have a club. I don’t have to own Arsenal.

“By the time we’ve finished [building the refinery], we’ll be a $30bn company in terms of revenue. We’ll have an excess amount of cash to start playing around with.”

Aliko Dangote repeats himself in 2020

“It is a team that yes I would like to buy some day, but what I keep saying is we have $20billion worth of projects and that’s what I really want to concentrate on. I’m trying to finish building the company and then after we finish, maybe some time in 2021 we can.

“I’m not buying Arsenal right now, I’m buying Arsenal when I finish all these projects, because I’m trying to take the company to the next level.”

As you can see, this is all just bluster from Dangote as he keeps repeating versions of the same thing.

Who is Aliko Dangote?

Aliko Dangote has been an Arsenal supporter since 1980.

Gaining a business degree from the Al-Azhar University in Egypt, Dangote, who was already blessed by being born into a business family, set up his own in 1978, trading rice, sugar and cement.

From there he moved into manufacturing and now his company is valued at more than $24bn, or, to put it a way that you and I can understand, it’s the largest company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

Attempting to buy a stake in Arsenal in 2010, Dangote is now worth more than eight times what he had in the bank when he first tried to get his hands on the club.

“I still hope, one day at the right price, that I’ll buy the team,” he told Bloomberg in May 2014.

“I might buy it, not at a ridiculous price but a price that the owners won’t want to resist,” he continued. “I know my strategy.”

“We have $16 billion-worth of investments in the next few years.

“Right now I want to take my own business to a certain level. Once I finish on that trajectory, then maybe [an offer will follow.]”

Will Stan Kroenke sell to Aliko Dangote?

When Stan Kroenke purchased his first Arsenal shares (9.9%) he paid ITV £65m although only £42.3m of this was for shares, the remaining £22.7m was reportedly for half of Arsenal Broadband.

9.9% equals approx. 6,220 shares making each one worth around £6,800 when the market rate at that time was closer to £8,500. If you think this seems strange, you are not alone.

Kroenke slowly increased his holding until he was in charge of the club.

In 2019, in response to the #wecaredoyou Arsenal fan movement, Josh Kroenke said on behalf of KSE, “For me, on a personal level, I’m not sure how to address my passion. Anyone that knows me knows how passionate I am about Arsenal Football Club.

“Is it hard to take? Absolutely. But I’m not in this business to make friends, I’m in it to win.

“If anyone is ever going to question anything about our ownership – which I view as a custodianship, the supporters trust us to be a custodian of the values – that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to win whilst also respecting the values and traditions of the club.

“I’ve sat down with supporters’ groups. I’ve not been afraid to sit down to have tough conversations with people because I’m transparent, we’re transparent, we don’t have anything to hide.

“We all want the same thing and we’re all trying aggressively to make it happen. It’s just sometimes our timeline might not be as aggressive as others would like to see.

“But we’re not going to compromise the values that have kept Arsenal Football Club the way it is for over 130 years.

“It’s no secret that we have a Champions League wage bill on a Europa League budget right now. That’s a fact. And one that we’re figuring out how to face internally at the moment,” Kroenke continued.

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