17 August 2017

Nigeria: Dangote Wants to Buy Arsenal and Sack Arsene Wenger

Photo: The Guardian
Aliko Dangote.

Nigerian billionaire and President of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, has reiterated his plan to buy English Premier League giants, Arsenal.

Mr. Dangote said he would make an offer to the owner of the club, Stan Kroenke, after completing the new refinery that his group is building in Lagos.

The Kano-born businessman, who is worth £8.6billion, has supported the Gunners since the mid-Eighties.

He told Bloomberg: "The first thing I would change is the coach. He has done a good job, but someone else should also try his luck."

Mr. Wenger has been the manager of Arsenal for 21 years and is the longest-serving manager of any side in Europe.

Fan protests against his rule rumbled on throughout last season but the Frenchman agreed a two-year contract extension last May.

Mr. Kroenke had earlier this year turned down a one billion pound takeover offer of the club from his fellow shareholder, Alisher Usmanov.

But Mr. Dangote, 60, apparently believes he can persuade the billionaire shareholders.

"If they get the right offer, I'm sure they would walk away," he said.

"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.

"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."

Mr. Dangote, who counts former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein as a good friend, had earlier in September spoken of his desire to purchase the North London side.

"Maybe three to four years. The issue is that we have more challenging headwinds," he had said back then.

"I need to get those out the way first and start having tailwinds. Then I'll focus on this."

The Dangote Group is scheduled to complete the construction of its refinery in Lagos, reputed to be potentially one of the largest in the world, by the end of 2018.

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