Gunners fans may be witnessing a change in the guard soon, should Africa’s richest man and staunch Arsenal supporter, Alhaji Aliko Dangote have a say about it.
The Nigerian mogul who is one of the world’s richest men with a networth of $11.1 billion, has said that the team’s head coach Arsene Wenger would be immediately on the unemployment line should he purchase the popular English Premier side franchise.
How soon could that happen? Well on or before 2020 according to the mogul, who wants to buy it after his refinery project comes on-stream.
Bloomberg reports Dangote said, “The first thing I would change is the coach,” Dangote said. “He has done a good job, but someone else should also try his luck.”
Wenger is Europe’s longest-serving manager. Since his appointment to the London-based club in 1996, he’s won three Premier League titles and seven FA Cup trophies. In May, he agreed to a new two-year deal, ending months of speculation over his future prompted by his team’s indifferent form last season. Arsenal failed to qualify for the UEFA Champions League, Europe’s premier tournament, for the first time in 20 years.
Arsenal’s biggest shareholder is American billionaire Stan Kroenke, who controls almost 67 percent of the company and also owns the National Football League’s Los Angeles Rams. Earlier this year, Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, who already holds a 30 percent stake, sought to buy outKroenke in an offer that valued Arsenal at as much as 2 billion pounds ($2.6 billion).
Dangote, 60, doubts he’d have trouble persuading Kroenke and Usmanov to sell.
“If they get the right offer, I’m sure they would walk away,” he said. “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.”
“It’s a great team, well-run. It could be run better, so I will be there,” he said. “I will wait. Even if things change I will take it.”
Maybe Wenger will still be around by the time Dangote purchases the club.