Multiple-business entrepreneur and billionaire, Aliko Dangote has taken his aspiration to buy Arsenal of England from another direction, as the tycoon believes taking over the Gunners would be a massive boost to Nigeria, not just himself.
In apparent reaction to snickers from cynical soccer followers at home and abroad, who believe Dangote would be serving the country a better good by investing in a domestic league club, the mogul says selling the country’s image internationally would be made better through his ownership of arsenal.
Dangote initially attempted to secure a 15% stake in Arsenal five years ago, but was turned down by Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith, who sold her shares to Stan Kroenke.
The 58-year-old, who has amassed a £12.2 billion fortune since founding his own business in 1978, is the majority shareholder in an enormous company that supplies 90% of Nigeria’s 170 million population with flour, cement and sugar.
He has attracted criticism for his reluctance to invest in the domestic league in favour of England’s top flight, but Dangote is adamant that the Gunners represent a more lucrative proposition than Nigeria’s clubs.
With an argument that Arsene Wenger’s side can reach the global audience that would showcase Nigeria’s image universally, Dangote says he is interested in purchasing Premier League club Arsenal in order to boost the profile of his homeland.
“The issue is that if I buy all the Nigerian clubs, the Nigerian flags will continue to remain here, (but) buying Arsenal will take the Nigerian flag worldwide.
“Just like whenever (Chelsea owner) Roman Abramovich is mentioned, the name of his country comes up. Everyone knows he’s Russian”, Dangote told Forbes.