It’s always been ‘in the pipeline’, and now we have yet another official reminder from the man himself: Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest, has genuine intentions of purchasing English giants Arsenal.
Estimated to be worth around US$15.1 billion by June this year, the Nigerian certainly has what it takes to finally make that dream — which failed to materialise after an attempt in 2010 — come true, revealing to Bloomberg Television that it could happen in “maybe three to four years”.
But what could Arsenal fans expect if Dangote does pull it off?
Here are five not entirely unthinkable scenarios:
REPLACING WENGER WITH . . .
Dangote hasn’t been Arsene Wenger’s greatest critic by any stretch — Piers Morgan would claim that title, thank you — but the affluent Nigerian hasn’t been too impressed by the Frenchman’s refusal to adapt when there clearly has been the need to, once opining that “[Arsenal] need new direction”.
Where that new direction, with Dangote at the helm, would come from might not be too hard to identify. Don’t think along the lines of some celebrity manager, though; just peek across London to find current Chelsea technical director and Dangote’s countryman, Michael Emenalo, who should be just a phone call away from his dream job. (Given, of course, that Wenger — whose current deal at the club expires in May 2017 — would still be at the club by then.)
FREE CONFECTIONERY FOR ALL
The 59-year-old’s wealth has mainly been acquired through, among other things, trade in sugar and flour. Dangote’s commodities have, hardly surprisingly, contributed plenty to the confectionery industry in Africa, saturating sweets and soft drinks, buns and pies. Visitors to the Emirates Stadium in the future could therefore reasonably anticipate a good treat during games and tours, with pastries et al likely to be offered as freebies. For all Arsenal notoriously charge in ticket prices, Dangote’s little edible gifts would seem a good reason to dole out the handful of extra pounds required to watch the Gunners play.
T.B JOSHUA’S PREDICTIONS
Should Dangote become the largest shareholder in Arsenal, he would quite justifiably call the shots but may not be the only influential Nigerian with a say with respect to Arsenal’s fortunes. From his Lagos-based SCOAN (abbreviation for ‘The Synangogue, Church Of All Nations’), controversial televangelist Temitope Balogun Joshua – himself a club owner in his homeland – would almost certainly tune the focus of his so-called prophecies to Holloway. And that wouldn’t be a bad thing, if only he’d be capable of providing any accurate idea as to when that elusive 14th league title would come.
EXPANDING HIGHBURY SQUARE
The Emirates might stand all glamorous today in north London, but just 500 yards away stands the site of the club’s former home as a memory of Arsenal’s glorious past. What remains of it now, however, has since been developed into the 650-flat apartment complex called Highbury Square. Throw in a little more cash — and, of course, cement (the other product for which Dangote has earned renown for) – and perhaps the property could be expanded a little more. Er, a 1000-odd flats, maybe?
KANU’S STATUE OUTSIDE THE EMIRATES
If there is anything Dangote has more of than money, it’s probably cement (Dangote Cement, mind, is the largest cement production company in Africa). Hence if, after taking measure #4, there are some spare bags of building powder remaining — and there sure would be – it could cross the great man’s mind to erect a statue outside the Emirates of the greatest Nigerian ever to wear an Arsenal shirt, Nwankwo Kanu, celebrating a goal with his trademark gun-mimicking, two-fingered salute – a gesture he explained was based on the team’s nickname – alongside existing figures built in tribute to club legends Thierry Henry, Herbert Chapman, Dennis Bergkamp and Tony Adams. For a man voted 13th by appreciative Arsenal fans in the “Gunners’ Greatest 50 Players” poll just eight years ago, Kanu’s greatness would, quite literally, be cast in stone.