The owner of the Dangote group and Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote plans to buy English Premier League side, Arsenal. Speaking in an interview with American financial outfit, Bloomberg, the Nigerian billionaire businessman who is valued at $15 billion said thus:
“I still hope, one day, at the right price, that I’ll buy the team. I might buy it, not at a ridiculous price but a price that the owners won’t want to resist. I know my strategy.
“We have $16 billion-worth of investments in the next few years. Right now I want to take my own business to a certain level. Once I finish on that trajectory, then maybe [I’ll bid again for Arsenal],”
The 55 year old was reportedly interested in buying the club in 2010, but nothing came out of it.
Although, Dangote harbours a dream to buy Arsenal football club being a fan of the Premier League outfit, the ownership structure of the club as it presently stands presents a challenge to such a prospect. American billionaire and property tycoon, Stan Kroenke, holds 67% of the club’s shares through it Kroenke Sports Enterprise (KSE) while Uzbek billionaire Alisher Usmanov holds almost 30% of the remaining share holding under the Red and White Holdings.
The English Premier League has become a huge investment destination for foreigners, due to it enormous financial potential drawn mostly from its large television deals which stood at £5billion in the last auction done couple of months ago. As a result almost half of the clubs in the English top flight are owned by foreigners.
It remains to be seen whether Dangote achieves his grand plan, but it remains something that is a long way off at the moment.
However, many Nigerians in the football family would prefer Dangote to cast his eyes further back home to invest in the growth of Nigerian football.
Yet, as it is with most businessmen, their investment is only targeted at a place where there would be returns, and at the moment that cannot be said of the Nigerian league and football in general.
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