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Aliko Dangote has made no secret of his love and desire for Arsenal and Africa’s richest man has reiterated his plan to own the club sooner rather than later.
Speaking in a wide-ranging interview with the Finanical Times, Dangote, who is worth a reported $14.1billion, believes the club is worth around $2bn (Forbes valued Arsenal at $2.017bn in 2016).
He plans to purchase it as a ‘reward’ for completing his new mega oil refinery that will produce 650,000 barrels a day from the new complex near Lagos.
‘‘I love Arsenal and I will definitely go for it,” he said before telling the journalist that he would get involved in rebuilding the team by “chipping in my own advice.
“When I buy it, I have to bring it up to the expectations of our supporters,” he said.
However, before you go getting yourself excited, you need to remember a few things.
Dangote ranks 100th in the Forbes richlist and his fortune eclipses Arsenal’s majority shareholder, Stan Kroenke’s by some €$4bn.
That being said, Kroenke has shown absolutely no intention of selling his shares. Why would he? When he purchased his first Arsenal shares (9.9%) he paid ITV £65m although only £42.3m of this was for shares, the remaining £22.7m was reportedly for half of Arsenal Broadband.
9.9% equals approx. 6,220 shares making each one worth around £6,800 when the market rate at that time was closer to £8,500. If you think this seems strange, you are not alone.
Anyway, Kroenke slowly increased his holding until he was in charge of the club. He now owns 41,743 shares.
Arsenal’s share price has dropped around 10% since May however it still sits well over the £20k mark, having passed £30k earlier in the year before falling. This clearly represents a significant profit for the American should he decide to sell up which he won’t.
You also have to take into consideration this article from Nigeria that claims Dangote has no intention of buying Arsenal, he just keeps saying he does for the attention.
“It is unknown to me how many business takeovers Dangote has carried out successfully, but no move from him has suggested so far that he is serious about buying Arsenal,” the author writes.
“Dangote knows he can’t buy Arsenal, he doesn’t even have the plans to, he is just interested in the publicity he is getting from it. He even hinted this in a June 2015 interview with Forbes when he said buying Arsenal will help put Nigeria on the map.
“This is how he put it: “The issue is that if I buy all the Nigerian clubs, the Nigerian flags will continue to remain here. Buying Arsenal will take the Nigerian flag worldwide. Just like whenever (Chelsea owner), Roman Abramovich is mentioned, the name of his country comes up. Everyone knows he’s Russian.”
“That simply translates to ‘I want the publicity’. Mentions in the prestigious world of sports media are alluring to Dangote who, despite being a well respected billionaire, is not mentioned in the same breath with the likes of Roman Abramovich.”