What is it with Nigerian Billionaires wanting a slice of Arsenal?
For several years Aliko Dangote, the Richest Nigerian alive, had openly expressed his intention to become a shareholder in the Premier League club, but that dream had never materialized beyond the media.
More recently, another Nigerian hot shot is mooting the idea and he has even gone ahead to lay out his plans on propelling Arsenal back to prominence in England and Europe.
Orji Uzor Kalu, a former Governor of Abia State, has thrown his hat into the ring albeit there’s been no official request for bids at the club at this time.
Kalu wants to acquire 35 per cent stake at the club and equally open up a partnership with Enyimba, a State-owned Nigerian club he funded heavily as Governor.
His reputation in Sports was enhanced by that unprecedented support shown to the team that went on to win back to back CAF Champions League titles – a first by any Nigerian club.
But, a former member of those glorious 2003, 2004 eras at Enyimba has criticized Kalu’s declaration.
Vincent Enyeama was Enyimba’s first choice goalkeeper during those illustrious campaigns on the continent. He even went on to become the most capped player in the National team; Super Eagles, and moved to Europe playing in Israel and France.
The former Lille goalkeeper, on Thursday, tweeted to news of his former Boss’ interest in the ownership of Arsenal, suggesting it is misplaced.
Why not invest that money in Enyimba and turn it into a mega club.A club that will bring in a lot of sponsors and create job opportunities for the youth.Nigeria has no MEGA club side that we can boast of.what do I http://know.My mouth keeps putting me into trouble.
Why not invest that money in Enyimba and turn it into a mega club.A club that will bring in a lot of sponsors and create job opportunities for the youth.Nigeria has no MEGA club side that we can boast of.what do I https://t.co/FxruB4bWSU mouth keeps putting me into trouble. https://t.co/LvfaAKvFBU
— Vinny(MON) (@vinpee) November 19, 2020
However, Kalu might not be backing down any time soon.
In his interview on Mirror, the Nigerian Politician said:
“Our success with Enyimba FC between 2000-07 has continuously increased my passion for football,” said Kalu.
“As the pillar of sports in Africa, I am considering an investment in football and I will buy 35 per cent stake in Arsenal FC.
“Our target is to lift the Champions League and EPL, and valuable investment as well.
“Doing what you love and loving it is where greatness lies. I need 35 per cent of Arsenal to bring back trophies.”
The largest shareholder on the Arsenal board is American Stan Kroenke. In 2018 he bought out Alisher Usmanov – the second highest shareholder – for 550 million pounds giving him more than 90% of the shares and giving him the required stake to complete the buyout of the remaining shares making him the sole owner.