Africa's richest man wants to buy Arsenal Football Club

Aliko DangoteREUTERS/Denis BalibouseAliko Dangote, President and Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Group and Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting 2014, speaks during a session at the WEF in Davos January 22, 2014.

Africa’s richest man may be the next owner of Arsenal football club.

That’s the hint from a Bloomberg interview with Aliko Dangote, the commodities colossus with a net worth estimated at $US15.7 billion (£10.38 billion).

Here he is in Bloomberg:

“I still hope, one day at the right price, that I’ll buy the team,” Dangote, 58, said in an interview as he travelled on a plane owned by one of his companies between the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and the Nigerian commercial hub of Lagos on May 1. “I might buy it, not at a ridiculous price but a price that the owners won’t want to resist. I know my strategy.”

He’s got business interests in plenty of African countries, and across a broad range of commodities — and could easily prove to be Arsenal’s answer to Chelsea’s Roman Abramovich.

Dangote has reportedly mounted an attempt to buy the club previously. In 2010, it was widely rumoured that he had offered to buy Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith’s 15.9% stake in the club. Back then, Forbes suggested he had a fortune of around $US3.3 billion (£2.18 billion), far less than he does now. He could now mount a much larger bid if he wanted.

He said he has too many other investments to keep an eye on for the moment, precluding an immediate takeover. He’s not alone in his fondness for the north London club: Nigeria has a soft spot for Arsenal as a team in general.

There are some similarities between Arsenal and the Nigerian economy: Both are powerful forces that regularly promise great things, but seem to constantly fall short.

Dangote has successfully navigated one, could he manage the other?

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