Daniel Ek has confirmed that he intends to make the Kroenke family an offer for Arsenal, stating he has funds in place for a takeover and wants to bring the club “back to its glory”.
As reported by the Guardian, Ek plans to test the Kroenkes’ resolve and a bid may be lodged next week. He has enlisted Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp to assist him but is prepared for a lengthy stand-off with the incumbents, who reiterated on Tuesday that they have no intention of walking away.
“I’ve been an Arsenal fan since I was eight years old,” the Spotify co-founder Ek said in an interview with CNBC. “I love the history, 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.
“I want to establish trust with the fans and engage the fans again. So, I’m very serious. I have secured the funds for it and I want to bring what I think is a very compelling offer to the owners and I hope they hear me out.”
Ek is understood to have shown interest in acquiring Arsenal before but that was knocked back at an early stage. Although the Kroenkes have shown no indication that they are willing to do a deal this time and are thought to value the club at over £2bn, they are coming under increasing pressure from a fanbase whose long-standing frustration turned into protests outside the Emirates after last week’s attempt to join the doomed Super League.
“I’ve been a fan for 30 years and I certainly didn’t expect this would happen overnight, and I’m prepared that this could be a long journey,” Ek said. “All I can do is prepare what I think is a very thoughtful offer, bring it to them and hope they hear me out.
“I just focus on the club, the fans and I focus on trying to bring the club back to glory and I’m first and foremost a fan. That’s the most important thing for me and I want the club to do better. That’s my primary interest.”
The Kroenkes were backed by Mikel Arteta, who has spoken to them during the course of a tumultuous week, as Arsenal prepared for their Europa League semi-final first leg at Villarreal. Arteta said they “showed their commitment to the football club and their ambition” and that they are “fully excited and committed to this project”. He also suggested supporters would see a different side to the ownership if a long-standing communication issue – alluded to in Ek’s comments – were resolved.
“If we all feel that it’s necessary and that it would be helpful, I’m sure they will do anything to bring the fans closer to them,” he said. “If [supporters] get the opportunity to know them I think most of them will be surprised. And if that’s the case I think it would benefit everyone at the football club: it would benefit the fans and bring a lot of clarity. So if there’s a way to do that and it’s going to be helpful, let’s do it if that’s what it’s necessary.”
Amid the turbulence that has rocked the club, Arteta has been readying his players for a last-four tie that will define their season. Realistically they must win the Europa League if they are to play continental football next season and they travel to face a side managed by his predecessor, Unai Emery.
Arteta may be able to select from a full-strength squad. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has recovered from malaria, Alexandre Lacazette is back after a hamstring problem and David Luiz is available after minor knee surgery. More surprisingly, Kieran Tierney could be fit after working to overcome a knee injury that was expected to sideline him until mid-May. Tierney has been “working like a beast every single day”, Arteta said.