Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, has declared that his desire to buy over English Premier League club, Arsenal is by no means diminished.
Since making his interest on Arsenal known last year, many felt the dream had died. But Mr. Dangote said he needed to wait for his business prospects to improve and his investments in gas pipelines and an oil refinery to play out before making the acquisition which he hopes will be completed in about four years’ time.
Mr. Dangote said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on Wednesday that “there’s no doubt” he’ll buy Arsenal. He said it was not a problem.
“Maybe three to four years. The issue is that we have more challenging headwinds. I need to get those out (of) the way first and start having tailwinds. Then I’ll focus on this,” he said.
Mr. Dangote, worth about $10.9 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, was quick to also state that when he eventually takes over Arsenal, it would not be business as usual at the Emirates ground of the Gunners.
“It’s not about buying Arsenal and just continuing with business as usual,” he said. “It’s about buying Arsenal and turning it around. I’ve run a very successful business and I think I can also run a very successful team. Right now, with what we’re facing, over $20 billion of projects, I cannot do both.”
Dangote, an Arsenal fan since 1980, has lost $4.4 billion this year – the fourth most of anyone globally – due mainly to the depreciation of Nigeria’s currency, the billionaires index shows.
The bulk of his wealth is tied up in Lagos-based Dangote Cement Plc, whose stock is down 4.7 percent this year.
If he succeeds in his acquisition bid, Mr. Dangote will be the first African owner of a team in England’s Premier League.