Africa’s richest man has claimed that he wants to buy Arsenal within “three to four years”.
Aliko Dangote, a businessman from Nigeria who is reportedly worth $10.9billion, stated last year that he was prepared to pay any sum to take ownership of the Premier League club away from Stan Kroenke.
Dangote, a lifelong Arsenal fan whose fortune is largely tied up in Lagos-based Dangote Cement Plc, is reported to have lost $4.4bn this year due largely to the depreciation of Nigeria’s currency.
But the 59-year-old says he still plans to complete a takeover of the Gunners before the end of the decade once his latest ventures in gas pipelines and an oil refinery have developed.
“Maybe three to four years,” he told Bloomberg Television when asked when he intended to buy the club.
“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.”
Dangote believes his success in the business world proves he is the right man to transform Arsenal’s fortunes, after years of relative stagnation under Kroenke and manager Arsene Wenger.
“It’s not about buying Arsenal and just continuing with business as usual,” he said. “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 20billion dollars of projects, I cannot do both.”
Kroenke, who has been criticised by fans for a perceived lack of interest in the team’s on-pitch successes, increased his majority shareholding to 67.05 per cent in May.
Alisher Uzmanov, the Russian billionaire who owns a 30.04 per cent stake in the club, moved to deny rumours last month that he was considering selling his shares, insisting that he sees the Gunners as “a long-term investment for family and future generations”.
Arsenal, who dispatched Nottingham Forest 4-0 in the EFL Cup on Tuesday, have won three, drawn one and lost one of their opening five Premier League games this season.