Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote has revealed that he has intentions to buy English Premier League club Arsenal within the next four years.
The 59-year-old, who is Africa’s richest man and worth $10.9 billion as indicated by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, has refused to back down on his ambition to own the English club having first made his intention known just over a year ago.
However, Dangote, who owns a multi-trillion conglomerate group, recognises that an immediate takeover of Arsenal would not happen owing to “more challenging headwinds”.
But his projection of making a move for the London club is “maybe three to four years”.
“There is no doubt (about buying Arsenal). It’s not a (money) problem. Maybe three to four years. The issue is that we have more challenging headwinds. I need to get those out the way first and start having tailwinds. Then I’ll focus on this,” he told Bloomberg Television .
Dangote explained why he cannot push for an outright purchase of Arsenal at the moment.
“It’s not about buying Arsenal and just continuing with business as usual. It’s about buying Arsenal and turning it around. I’ve run a very successful business and I think I can also run a very successful team. Right now, with what we’re facing, over $20 billion of projects, I cannot do both,” he said.
According to Bloomberg, Dangote has had to grapple with a $4.4 billion loss this year owing “to the depreciation of Nigeria’s currency”.
At the moment, American businessman and billionaire Stan Kroenke has a major share of 67 per cent of Arsenal Holdings, stated Bloomberg.
Under company law, Kroenke as a major shareholder of Arsenal Holdings can make an offer for the remaining shares owned by rivals, Red & White Holdings, owned by Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov as well as shares of former players and the club’s supporters trust.
However, if Dangote succeeds in his bid to buy Arsenal as projected in three to four years, he will become the first African from the sub-Sahara to own a club in the Premier League.