Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, 60, has renewed his interest in acquiring English Premier League giants, Arsenal. And if the wishes of the Nigerian billionaire and President of the Dangote Group, comes true, Arsene Wenger’s days as manager of the North London club are as good as over.
The Kano-born entrepreneur reported to be worth £8.6billion is a known Arsenal fan and has never hidden his interests to acquire the club if owner, Stan Kroenke, is willing to sell.
Dangote told told Bloomberg thursday that the first thing he would do on acquiring the club is to change the coaching personnel.
“The first thing I would change is the coach (Wenger). He has done a good job, but someone else should also try his luck.”
The Frenchman has been in-charge of the Gunners for 21 years and is the longest-serving manager of any topflight football club in Europe.
Until Arsenal defeated Chelsea to lift the English FA last term, a section of Gunners’ fans were literarily at war with Wenger. They wanted him out of the club for a new coach to take charge. They loathe Arsenal’s inability to win trophies. Arsenal is going to miss this year’s UEFA Champions League after finishing outside the top four of last season.
But Kroenke and his directors appeared unfazed with the cries of the fans, preferring instead to look at the profit margin Wenger’s policy (of miserly spending on players) was bringing to the club.
Instead of pandering to the wishes of the club’s fans the Frenchman was rewarded with a fresh two-year contract extension in May.
Earlier this year, Kroenke turned down a one billion pound takeover offer of the club from his fellow shareholder, Alisher Usmanov.
However, Dangote who has his hands on almost every sector of the Nigerian economy, the latest being the oil refinery he is building in Lagos, believed at the right prize, Kroenke would succumb to the temptation of selling the club to him.
“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,” stressed Dangote in his resolve to own the London-based club
Mr. Dangote, who counts former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein as a good friend, had earlier in September last year spoken of his desire to purchase Arsenal.
“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.”