Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote has reiterated his desire to acquire English football giants Arsenal and with a clear-cut agenda this time – sack manager Arsene Wenger.
Frenchman Wenger has been in charge of the North London side since 1996 but his reign has come under serious opposition from some of the club’s fans in recent seasons. With The Gunners finishing outside the Champions League places for the first time since Wenger’s arrival, disgruntled fans have had more fuel to their fury.
Dangote, who was worth $12.3 billion as of mid-August, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, is a daring business man and insisted he has not given up hopes of buying Arsenal yet. Asked if he was still interested in buying the club despite hesitation from the owners, he said:
“Yes, but I don’t want to go after Arsenal until I deliver the refinery. Once I deliver, I will go after Arsenal,” he told Bloomberg Markets.
Dangote, 60, born in Nigeria’s northern city of Kano, a busy hub of commerce remains a loyal fan of the club and this will not change despite their dwindling fortunes in recent seasons.
“I don’t change clubs. Even when Arsenal isn’t doing well I still stick by them. It’s a great team, well-run. It could be run better, so I will be there. I will wait. Even if things change I will take it and make the difference going forward.”
Apart from buying the club and saving it from a possible slide, Dangote might also have in mind, an antidote for the current inconsistencies in the team.
“The first thing I would change is the coach. He has done a good job, but someone else should also try his luck,” stated Dangote.
Dangote has faced many obstacles in his business venture before rising to the pinnacle as the richest African and so is not perturbed by the seeming unwillingness by the Arsenal’s major shareholders Stan Kroenke and Alisher Usmanov to give up their stakes.
“Well, you know anything is possible in this world. If they get the right offer, I’m sure they would walk away. We’ll be in a position to give them the right offer. They will not hold Arsenal forever. 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.”