Aliko Dangote Discusses Intent to Buy Arsenal Amid Alisher Usmanov Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJuly 25, 2018

Aliko Dangote, President and CEO, Dangote Group speaks during a panel discussion at the US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC on August 5, 2014. The panel focused on foreign investment in Africa.   AFP PHOTO/JEWEL SAMAD        (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
JEWEL SAMAD/Getty Images

Aliko Dangote, Africa's richest man, has reiterated he wants to buy Arsenal amid speculation minority shareholder Alisher Usmanov is seeking to sell his stake in the club. 

It was reported by the Financial Times on Tuesday that Usmanov is "actively exploring a sale" of the 30 per cent stake he has in the Gunners. Stan Kroenke is the majority owner of the club with a 67 per cent holding.

When quizzed on the report, Dangote said regardless of any sales involving Usmanov and Kroenke, he will look to buy the club in two years.

"We will go after Arsenal from 2020 ... even if somebody buys, we will still go after it," he said, per James Benge of the Evening Standard.

As relayed by Mark Jones of the Daily Mirror, it's not the first time Dangote has expressed an interest in acquiring the football club. "If they get the right offer, I'm sure they would walk away," he said of the majority shareholders in August.

Per the Financial Times, there has been a long-term battle ongoing between Kroenke and Usmanov regarding control of Arsenal, with the latter rejecting a £525 million offer from the former for his stake back in October.

Usmanov is said to be ready to sell his Arsenal shares.
Usmanov is said to be ready to sell his Arsenal shares.Maxim Shemetov/Associated Press
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Usmanov is now said to be ready to cash in on his shares, although it's reported he won't sell any to Kroenke. According to the report, moving on the shares is a "difficult sales pitch" as the metals magnate "does not have a board seat at Arsenal or any say over the running of the club."

As noted by football writer Paul Brown, Usmanov appears to have lost faith in dislodging Kroenke at this juncture:

Per Benge, Dangote was valued at around £10.6 billion in March. The 61-year-old is the owner of the Dangote Group. 

Sections of Arsenal supporters have made it clear in the past that they are not happy with how Kroenke has run the club, with banners appearing among the fans at matches calling for the American businessman to leave.

In a statement to the Evening Standard, the Arsenal Supporters' Trust said they would be "very concerned at any outcome that saw the club wholly owned by Kroenke."