Arsenal Reportedly Won't Be Sold amid Interest from Spotify Owner Daniel Ek

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2021

Fans protest against Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke before the English Premier League soccer match against Everton, outside the Emirates Stadium in London, Friday April 23, 2021.  The fans want owner Stan Kroenke to leave the club over its bid to join the failed Super League. (AP Photo / Frank Giffiths)
Frank Giffiths/Associated Press

Kroenke Sports Enterprises isn't planning to sell Arsenal, according to ESPN FC's James Olley

Club director Josh Kroenke reportedly spoke with around 350 staffers on a video call Tuesday and "spelled out [KSE's] unwillingness to even consider an approach from any interested parties."

The Mirror's John Cross shared a statement from the Kroenkes confirming Olley's report:

John Cross @johncrossmirror

“Our ambition for Arsenal remains to compete to win the biggest trophies in the game and our focus remains on improving our competitiveness on the pitch to achieve this. Stan Kroenke and Josh Kroenke, Kroenke Sports & Entertainment.”

The call came one day after the Guardian's Nick Ames and Will Unwin reported Spotify owner Daniel Ek was working with Arsenal legends Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira in an attempt to purchase the club.

A level of unrest among supporters has been growing for years. First, simply qualifying for the Champions League under Arsene Wenger wasn't enough. Now, Arsenal have fallen well off the pace of their top-six rivals, and Stan Kroenke's perceived lack of commitment is considered by many to be the primary source of the downturn.

Arenal's involvement in the failed Super League further incensed the supporter base. Even after it became clear the Super League as originally proposed was dead, more than 1,000 people gathered outside Emirates Stadium to protest.

The problem—and this isn't isolated to Arsenal—is that fans can't sack an ownership group.

Josh Kroenke spoke at a Fans' Forum last week and made it clear KSE officials "have no intention of selling."

"I believe we are fit to carry on in our position as custodians of Arsenal," he said. "We were put in a very difficult position by forces outside of the club."

In March, Arsenal announced a loss of £47.8 million after tax caused largely by the COVID-19 pandemic.

But Forbes estimated in January that Kroenke Sports & Entertainment was worth $8.73 billion through ownership stakes in Arsenal, the Los Angeles Rams, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Rapids, and other entities. The Gunners alone were valued at $2.27 billion in Forbes' 2020 list of the most valuable sports franchises.

The Kroenkes' efforts to participate in the Super League launch might have been thwarted, but they have little financial reason to offload the North London club.