By Benjamin Omoike
The much touted takeover of Arsenal by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote from Stan Kroenke in 2021 may remains a tantalizing mirage as the American billionaire is not ready to let go the Emirates club.
English tabloid Sportsmail declared that takeover unrealistic considering Kroenke’s stance on the matter, and there are no signs whatsoever that he is willing to relinquish his power.
Kroenke’s son Josh, who is director at the club and continues to take on more responsibility in the absence of his father, called for unity at Arsenal before claiming they are desperate to see the glory days return to North London.
For me, on a personal level, I’m not sure how to address my passion. Anyone that knows me knows how passionate I am about Arsenal Football Club,” Josh said. “Is it hard to take? Absolutely.
“But I’m not in this business to make friends, I’m in it to win. If anyone is ever going to question anything about our ownership – which I view as a custodianship, the supporters trust us to be a custodian of the values – that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to win whilst also respecting the values and traditions of the club.”
Back in August 2018, Kroenke – who has a net worth of £9.7bn, which is £1.2bn more than Dangote’s £8.5billion – took complete control of Arsenal by paying £550million for Alisher Usmanov’s stake in the club.
Throughout his time in North London, Kroenke – who has other ventures that include LA Rams, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche and Colorado Rapids – has come in for heavy criticism for his passive ownership.
Just last summer Arsenal fans – under the #WeCareDoYou slogan – faulted Kroenke and his directions for the club after they missed out on UEFA Champions League football for a third season running.
But Josh is enthusiastic over new rapprochement with the Gunner fans: “I’ve sat down with supporters’ groups. I’ve not been afraid to sit down to have tough conversations with people because I’m transparent, we’re transparent, and we don’t have anything to hide.
“We all want the same thing and we’re all trying aggressively to make it happen.
“It’s just sometimes our timeline might not be as aggressive as others would like to see. But we’re not going to compromise the values that have kept Arsenal Football Club the way it is for over 130 years.”