Africa’s richest man and chairman of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote has re-staked his bid to purchase Arsenal Football Club of England after completion of Dangote Refinery project. In a fresh interview with BBC World Service Hausa, Dangote boasted that once “we get this refinery on track, I will have enough time and enough resources to pay what they are asking for.”
“There were a couple of us who were rushing to buy and we thought with the prices then, the people who were interested in selling were trying to go for a kill. We backtracked because we were very busy doing other things, especially our industrialization,” he adds.
The Kano born billionaire whose wealth is currently valued at around US$21.6 billion (£12.2billion) is reported to have initiated the bid to purchase a holding in the North London club in 2011 when former director Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith was selling her stock but the move fell through. There are strong indications that the cement manufacturer would have to go extra miles to actualize his dream project of bankrolling the Gunners.
Arsenal’s current majority shareholder and American tycoon, Stan Kroenke, who holds 66.64 percent stake is reportedly not ready to sell his holding. Similarly, Uzbek magnate, Alisher Usmanov, who controls around 30 percent of Arsenal holding has not expressed desire to offload any of his shares.
Nevertheless, Dangote, whose business interests include sugar, flour and oil, insists that the current English FA Cup holders need more resources and change of direction to be able to mount a challenge for top honours again. “They are doing well but they need another strategic direction. They need more direction than the current situation, where they just develop players and sell them,” he said.
By Olisemeka Obeche (with agency reports)