NIGERIAN billionaire Alhaji Aliko Dangote has pledged to pit in a renewed bid for English Premier League giants Arsenal in 2021 once he has finished the construction of the petroleum refinery he is currently building in Lagos.
Alhaji Dangote, 62, is currently Africa’s richest man and the 96th wealthiest man in the world, valued at $14.1bn by Bloomberg’s Billionaire’s Index. A passionate Arsenal fan, he has made several unsuccessful bids for the club over the last five years but each has been rebuffed by Arsenal are currently owned by Stan Kroenke, the American billionaire who owns the Gunners.
Over the last two years, Alhaji Dangote has put his plans to buy the club on hold as he focuses on building Africa’s largest refinery in Lagos. His Dangote Refinery in the Ibeju-Lekki suburb of Lagos is due to be completed in 2021 and the business mogul has stated that once that is completed, he will turn his attention back to Arsenal.
Alhaji Dangote said: “It is a team that yes I would like to buy some day but what I keep saying is we have $20bn worth of projects and that’s what I really want to concentrate on. I’m trying to finish building the company and then after we finish, maybe some time in 2021 we can.
“I’m not buying Arsenal right now. I’m buying Arsenal when I finish all these projects because I’m trying to take the company to the next level.”
Due to Arsenal’s current poor form, its fans are determined to oust absentee owner Mr Kroenke, who rarely shows his face at the Emirates, while the club continues to look rudderless behind the scenes in their search for a route back to the top four. Arsenal fans would certainly welcome a change in ownership and Alhaji Dangote could radically change the club’s fortunes.
Arsenal are currently 10th in the English Premier League after a torrid end of Unai Emery’s reign but have shown some signs of life after the appointment of ne manager Mikel Arteta. Mr Kroenke’s son, Josh, is a director on the Arsenal board and told fans to be excited in the summer after the Gunners signed Nicholas Pepe for a club record fee, as well as Kieran Tierney and David Luiz but things did not improve.
During the course of December, Arsenal fans carried banners calling for the Kroenkes to leave the club. This pressure will be somewhat relieved if Arteta delivers on the early positives showed in the 2-0 win over Manchester United but Arsenal fans will still be hoping Alhaji Dangote follows through on the promise he made in 2018 to buy the club.