Spotify co-founder Daniel Ek will reportedly make an official offer for the club this week, following comments from club legend Thierry Henry suggesting he’s already “reached out” to the current owners.
The Telegraph reported Ek’s offer—understood to be worth around £1.8 billion—is expected before the end of this week, although Henry has warned fans of the lengthy battle to come.
News of an impending bid comes shortly after Manchester United supporters broke into Old Trafford in revolt against their current owners, the Glazer family.
Like Arsenal counterpart Stan Kroenke, United’s owners were widely criticised for their efforts to form part of the short-lived European Super League.
Speaking on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football, Henry said Ek “is an Arsenal fan for a very long time,” who wants the club to rediscover what once made it a Premier League powerhouse.
“He approached us. We listened to him. When we knew, first and foremost, that he wanted to involve the fans then we met the Arsenal Supporters Trust. We told them what we wanted to do. To bring them back on board. Make them part of the meetings and knowing what’s happening. You need to put the DNA back into the club.
"He wants to inject the Arsenal DNA back into the club, which for me, is long gone. You don’t have Arsenal people there amongst the board, which might show the right direction. But that’s what Daniel wants to do. He has already reached out. He already said he has collected the funds to put a good bid. Now, they need to listen – he wants to make sure the team is what it used to be.”
The Gunners are on course to finish outside the Premier League’s top four for the fifth season running. Moreover, Arsenal could be set to miss out on European football next season, which would bring an end to the club’s streak of 25 consecutive campaigns in European competition.
Kroenke, 73, became Arsenal’s sole shareholder in April 2018 after gradually increasing his stake in the club since 2007.
Henry is joined by fellow Arsenal legends Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp in support of Ek, who, at 38, is almost half Kroenke’s age.
The Swede – who is estimated to have a net worth of around £3billion – told CNBC he had “secured the funds” for a deal.
Henry continued to petition on Ek’s behalf and said the desire to bring Arsenal’s fans back into the conversation about how the club is run was a major part of his appeal: “He wants to make sure that the team can be what it used to be. That is what he wants to bring, and what we want to bring – the identity and the DNA of the club back, and people who care about the club.
“If you had fans on board, this European Super League thing would never had happened.
"Daniel is an honest man, transparent. Fans want to know what might happen at their club. We had a discussion with the Arsenal Supporters' Trust and he was very open with them and he wants to be open."
Following an increase in pressure to sell the club and talk of a takeover bid, Kroenke Sports and Entertainment (KSE) released a statement denying any intention to cash in: “We remain 100 per cent 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.”
The difficulty of any takeover was reflected in Henry’s comments on MNF, adding: “The takeover is going to be long, and not easy. And Daniel will not move away, he will be there waiting to see if they want to sell. That's going to take a very long time. We know what we want to do but, first and foremost, we need to make sure that we take over, if they are listening.
“He (Ek) wants to buy the club, he reached out, and there is going to be a bid. If I wasn't part of the bid, I would have backed it up from afar. Because I want the club to be run a bit better and the fans to be involved. It is not so much only about what's happening on the field, it is what's happening off the field. And the fans are not happy about it.”
Kroenke has invested sporadically in the Gunners, but there have been suggestions the club comes second to his American sports investments, namely NFL franchise the Los Angeles Rams.
Arsenal would represent a first foray into the industry for Ek, meanwhile, and talk of the Spotify supremo’s incoming offer will come as music to the ears of many supporters.
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