Daniel Ek Arsenal takeover backed by Martin Keown as Stan Kroenke transfer demand made
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Arsenal legend Martin Keown believes Daniel Ek is “for real” about taking over from Stan Kroenke and wants the American owner to “step aside” if he’s not serious about investing cash into Mikel Arteta’s first-team squad in the upcoming summer transfer window.
Spotify CEO and co-founder Ek has made it expressly clear that he wants to buy the Gunners, whom he has supported all his life.
The Swede wants to launch a £1.8billion bid to wrestle control of the Gunners away from the Kroenkes amid protests against the club’s current ownership, and has recruited the support of Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry to aid his efforts to do so.
Arsenal supporters gathered in their numbers outside the Emirates last week to protest against Kroenke following the north London club’s involvement in the failed European Super League.
Ek then went public about his takeover bid and said: “I look at that I just see a tremendous opportunity to set a real ambition for the club to bring it back to its glory.
“I’ve secured the funds for it and I want to bring what I think is a very compelling offer to the owners. I hope they hear me out.”
Responding to the Kroenke statement in which Arsenal’s owners said they have no ambition to sell, Ek added: “I certainly didn’t expect that this would happen overnight. I’m prepared that this could be a long journey.”
And iconic former centre-back Keown believes the attempt of Ek, who has a net worth in the region of £3.4bn, to oust Stan Kroenke is genuine rather than a PR exercise.
Keown insists if the Kroenkes are to remain in charge however then they need to provide financial backing for Arteta to get the 10th-placed Gunners back towards the summit of the Premier League table.
He told BT Sport: “The Kroenkes have said they’re going to spend money, if they’re not then they need to step aside.
“They’ve got plenty of that. They’ve spent £1bn to buy shares, the club is worth £3bn so it’s a massive investment.
“They’re surely going to want to invest in that. Whether we believe them, let’s see. Let’s see the colour of their money, if they’re not willing to do that they need to step aside.
“Put their money where their mouth is and secure the future of the football club.”
He added of prospective buyer Ek: “Let’s see if it’s for real. I like [Arsene] Wenger’s stance, usually when a deal goes through we don’t hear until the last minute. Let’s see if it’s just publicity for himself and Spotify.
“I think he’s for real, and the former players getting involved they wouldn’t if they didn’t think it’s a real opportunity.”
Keown’s former team-mate Freddie Ljungberg, appearing alongside him on BT Sport, insisted that Ek is a “massive, massive” fan of Arsenal.
“I must say I’ve spoken to Josh [Kroenke] a few times, he’s a very nice man,” the Swede said.
“When I see, I was proud of Arsenal fans when they came out in force. They’re very annoyed at claiming we’ve got some God divine right to play in a competition we’re not good enough to be in right now, but we should be able to get in and out of it.
“I think as well, we’re tenth in the league at the moment. No Arsenal fan will be happy with that.
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“There’s a lot of emotions going around the club.”
He added of Ek: “He’s a massive Arsenal fan. Just a little story, when I was with the youth team at Arsenal I was asked by Spotify if I could have a chat with their leaders…
“We couldn’t because of all the security stuff, but he’s definitely a massive, massive Arsenal fan.”
Manchester United legend Paul Scholes said of the potential Arsenal takeover however: “I don’t think Arsenal fans should celebrate. He’s getting interest by mentioning Bergkamp, Vieira, Henry, it’s the same old trick, it won’t be any different.
“You’ll just be a toy. He’s a money man, he’s a businessman, he wants to make money. This is what they’ll do. They’ll come to clubs like this, go to clubs like Arsenal and make lots of money.”
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