Commodities billionaire Aliko Dangote, the richest man in Africa according to Forbes, wants to buy Arsenal and sack long-reigning manager Arsène Wenger. Dangote has a net worth of $12.5 billion (£9.7 billion) and owns Dangote Group, a multinational conglomerate currently constructing an $11 billion (£8.5 billion) oil refinery in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.
Once the refinery is built, Dangote wants to takeover Arsenal, according to a recent interview. The Nigerian believes majority shareholder Stan Kroenke, who has a 67.05% stake in the club, and Alisher Usmanov, who owns 30.04% of the club, can be convinced to sell.
“If they get the right offer, I’m sure they would walk away. Someone will give them an offer that will make them seriously consider walking away. And when we finish the refinery, I think we will be in a position to do that,” Dangote said.
If his takeover bid was successful, he would fire Wenger immediately. “The first thing I would change is the coach,” Dangote said. Wenger has led the Gunners to three Premier League titles and seven FA Cup trophies, but fans are divided over whether he is the right man to take the team forward.
Dangote says Wenger “has done a good job,” but believes “someone else should try his luck.”
Kroenke resisted a takeover offer in May when Arsenal’s second-largest investor, Usmanov, tested Kroenke with a $1.3 billion (£1 billion) bid. The approach valued the club at $2 billion (£1.55 billion). Arsenal is worth $1.9 billion (£1.5 billion), according to Forbes.