Soccer

Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke reaffirms that club is not for sale as Spotify billionaire Daniel Ek plots takeover

Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke reaffirms that club is not for sale as Spotify billionaire Daniel Ek plots takeover

Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke has once more stated that he has no intention of selling the club as Swedish billionaire Daniel Ek prepares a takeover bid for the Gunners.

Ek, worth an estimated $4billion, has for some time been mulling a bid for his boyhood club and made public his desire to buy Arsenal on Friday as around 2,000 fans protested outside the Emirates Stadium against the current owner. Ownership vehicle Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE) has proven to be an unpopular custodian among supporters and the Gunners’ involvement in the collapsing European Super League spurred further ire towards the American.

However Kroenke remains committed to the north London club and in a meeting earlier today his son Josh, who is a director, told staff that they would not consider any sale. That was soon followed by a public statement from the owners.

“In recent days we have noted media speculation regarding a potential takeover bid for Arsenal Football Club,” the Kroenkes said. “We remain 100 percent committed to Arsenal and are not selling any stake in the club. 

“We have not received any offer and we will not entertain any offer.

“Our ambition for Arsenal remains to compete to win the biggest trophies in the game and our focus remains on improving our competitiveness on the pitch to achieve this.”

Previously Josh had stated at a fractious fan forum that his father was not intending to sell Arsenal, who he secured full ownership of in 2019 in a deal that valued the club at $2billion. Ek is set to address the media tomorrow, the first time he will have spoken publicly since revealing his desire to buy Arsenal. 

Valued at $4.9billion by Forbes, it is not clear how the 38-year-old could raise the funds to make an offer to Kroenke that would be too good to refuse despite their public statement. Much of his wealth is in his 18 percent stake in Spotify and neither he nor anyone close to the bid has explained the mechanisms through which he would make any purchase, though they have indicated that they believe it would be within Ek’s reach.

KSE, who also own franchises in the NFL (Los Angeles Rams), NBA (Denver Nuggets), NHL (Colorado Avalanche) and MLS (Colorado Rapids), have never sold one of their sports’ franchises.

With the current owners insistent they are not ready to part way with the club sources have told CBS Sports that the Kroenkes intend to support further investment in the first team squad this summer, backing manager Mikel Arteta despite his struggles in moving Arsenal towards the top four. There is a belief within the Gunners hierarchy that their recent recruitment has been more successful than not with Kieran Tierney, Gabriel Magalhaes, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard viewed as benchmark deals.

Funds from KSE, which facilitated a $60million deadline day move for Thomas Partey last summer, could come in addition to any sales in a summer where several young players and experienced names are expected to be available to buying clubs.

CBS Sports revealed in February that Hector Bellerin was ready to end his Arsenal career whilst offers will be considered for midfielders Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi, both out on loan. There are also a string of academy graduates who are expected to depart. 

West Ham target Eddie Nketiah, Reiss Nelson and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who has impressed with West Bromwich Albion, are players that the Gunners hope to receive significant fees for whilst Newcastle’s interest in signing loanee Joe Willock could further increase the funds Arteta has to play with. Arsenal hope to make Odegaard’s loan from Real Madrid a permanent one and will look for reinforcements in both full-back positions. There has also been extensive scouting of options in central midfield.

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Gere Allan

Gere Allan is an English football writer and novelist. He spent much of his career based in Italy and has been seen as one of the leading authorities on Italian football as a result.

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