Spotify co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek said on Wednesday that he has secured funding for a bid to buy Arsenal and insisted he is ready for what could be a “long journey” in convincing Stan Kroenke Sports Enterprises to sell the club.
ESPN reported on Monday that a consortium including three former Gunners stars — Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira — were planning to table a formal offer within the next two weeks.
KSE have said on more than one occasion that they have “no intention to sell” the club and released a statement on Tuesday evening claiming they “will not entertain any offer” amid Ek’s interest, with Forbes valuing the Gunners at just over £2 billion.
However, Ek, who is estimated to be worth £3.4bn, spoke publicly for the first time in an interview with CNBC on Wednesday insisting he is unperturbed by KSE’s position and will soon be ready to test their resolve.
“I’ve been an Arsenal fan since I was 8 years old,” he said. “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 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 fans, and I want to engage with fans again. I am 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.”
Kroenke took full control of Arsenal in August 2018 after buying out rival shareholder Alisher Usmanov in a £550 million deal that valued the club at £1.8bn.
A year earlier, they rejected an offer from Usmanov to sell their entire stake. Asked specifically about KSE’s refusal to sell, Ek replied: “Yeah, but I’ve been a fan for 30 years of this club. I certainly didn’t expect that this would happen overnight, and I am prepared that this could be a long journey. 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, I focus on the fans and I focus on trying to bring the club back to glory. I’m first and foremost a fan. That’s the most important thing for me, and I want the club to do better, that is my primary interest.”
ESPN reported on Tuesday that Josh Kroenke, son of owner Stan, apologised to around 350 Arsenal staff for their involvement in the failed Super League project and stated their intention to invest in the team this summer despite posting losses of £47.8m for the 2019-20 season and a loss of more than £100m expected to follow.
Around 2,000 fans gathered outside Emirates Stadium last Friday ahead of the club’s home game against Everton to protest at KSE’s ownership with further demonstrations planned in the coming weeks.