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African Billionaire Aliko Dangote Declares Desire to Buy Arsenal Football Club

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistMay 5, 2015

FILE -  In this photo taken, Monday, Oct. 8, 2012 Nigerian billionaire businessman Aliko Dangote  attends  a global business environment meeting in Lagos, Nigeria. Forbes magazine says Dangote, a Nigerian tycoon who built his empire on commodities like flour, sugar and cement, is Africa’s richest man. Dangote topped the Forbes’ list published this week for the second year running. According to Forbes, he has a net worth of $12 billion. (Ap Photo/Sunday Alamba, file)
Sunday Alamba/Associated Press

Aliko Dangote, the richest man in Africa, has reaffirmed his interest in buying Arsenal.

The Nigerian businessman previously saw his 2010 attempt to purchase a majority stake in the club rebuffed, but he still wants to own the north London Premier League outfit.

"I still hope, one day at the right price, that I'll buy the team," said Dangote, as reported by Paul Wallace of Bloomberg. "I might buy it, not at a ridiculous price but a price that the owners won't want to resist. I know my strategy."

Sunday Alamba/Associated Press

As reported by Tom Sheen of The Independent, Dangote's fortune of £10.38 billion ($15.7 billion) far outranks the £3.76 billion worth of current majority shareholder Stan Kroenke. Minority owner Alisher Usmanov is worth £9.65 billion in comparison.

Arsenal are currently joint-second in the Premier League on 70 points, but they have a game in-hand over Manchester City, who remain alongside them. While Chelsea confirmed the trophy with a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Sunday, the Gunners' 10-game unbeaten run has many supporters excited about the prospect of a genuine title challenge next season.

Arsene Wenger has got over the annual call to see him sacked and returned the side to playing entertaining, but more importantly effective, football. Dangote isn't the biggest fan of the French manager, previously stating the club "needs a new direction" and that Wenger "needs to change his style a bit," as reported by Firdose Moonda of ESPN FC.

Matt Dunham/Associated Press

Sheen suggested Arsenal are valued at £988 million, so Dangote's worth could provide a significant increase in funds. Although UEFA's financial fair play rules have been designed to stop billionaires quickly changing the fortunes of clubs by snapping up an endless supply of world-class players, Dangote's money could provide extra cash for new talent.

Arsenal would still need to break even to comply with UEFA's rules, however. City and Paris Saint-Germain, two clubs who have received massive cash injections in recent years, have both fallen foul of the governing body's guidelines after failing to adequately offset their spending.

From the outside, Arsenal have all the foundations set to be an immensely successful club in the future. Wenger is a great manager, the Emirates Stadium is a fantastic arena and finances are healthy after paying off the stadium.

The basis of an excellent squad is in place, as noted by B/R UK's James McNicholas, who thinks the north Londoners will make a splash next season:

Dangote's comments suggest a future attempt to buy Kroenke out will be made.

Club ownership remains a controversial topic in British football—with teams such as Manchester United, Liverpool and Cardiff City suffering difficult tenures under new management—so such talk may make Arsenal fans a little nervous.

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