BEVERLY HILLS, April 29, (THEWILL) – The co-founder of Spotify, the Swedish audio streaming and media services provider, Daniel Ek, whose audacious bid to takeover Arsenal from the ironclad grip of the Kroenke family made headlines on the Monday, has come back to claim that he has now “secured the funds” to make a “compelling offer” for the club.
In the wake of the fallout and fan protests that greeted the collapse of the European Super League (ESL), Ek, a Gunners’ faithful since the age of eight declared his interest in buying the Emirates club of north London.
The announcement of the attempted breakaway for the close-shop ESL was met by such fan-led opposition and global backlash that a rapid process of withdrawals followed as all six English sides involved publicly distanced themselves from the project, including Arsenal.
An open letter was thereafter issued by the Arsenal Board apologising to fans. It contained a confirmation of the team’s withdrawal from the ESL and the admission of the Board that it was a mistake to have unilaterally included the club in the now stillborn League.
However, fans, who had not been comfortable with Kroenke’s running of the club, and who believe he had not done enough to make the club competitive, saw this as a bridge too far and began protesting for Kroenke to leave Arsenal.
One way this can happen is if he sells his controlling shares to a willing buyer, something Kroenke has been notoriously unwilling to do, as he made clear about again recently.
Yet, the protests have made this the most perfect opportunity for any buyer willing and ready to secure the funding to attempt prying these shares from Kroenke’s stiff fist while using every opportunity available to do that. It could have been the best time for someone like Africa’s foremost industrialist and richest man, Aliko Dangote, who has been very public about his desire to buy Arsenal but he is presently strapped with other responsibilities.
That is where Ek comes in.
The Spotify founder made his initial interest public last week in a tweet. Though it raised a few eyebrows, there were not many who gave it anything more than a passing shrug. But, while Kroenke was insisting on Tuesday that they “will not entertain” a bid, Ek reiterated his desire with unrelenting passion.
When queried about how serious he was about his pursuit for the club, Ek replied: “I’m very serious. I have secured the funds for it and I want to bring a very compelling offer to the owners and I hope they hear me out.
“I certainly didn’t expect this will happen overnight and I am prepared for this to be a long journey.”
The 38-year-old intends to turn Arsenal around and take it back to the glory days of success, which have become lost in the past since Kroenke secured majority ownership of the club in April 2011. Since then, Arsenal’s only major trophy successes have been four FA Cup triumphs. Their best Premier League finish was second in 2015-16, though they have not ended the season in the top four since that time.
The Swedish billionaire has Arsenal in his DNA: “I’ve been an Arsenal fan since I was eight years old. Arsenal is my team. I love the history. I love the players. And of course, I love the fans.
“So as I look at that, I just see a tremendous opportunity to set a real vision for the club to bring it back to its glory. And I want to establish trust with fans and I want to engage the fans again.
“I am first and foremost a fan; that is the most important thing for me. I want the club to do better. That is my primary interest.”
Ek’s sincerity is no longer in doubt but Kroenke’s obduracy is legendary. And, Ek will have to learn to exercise patience and perseverance if he truly intends to buy the clu