Aliko Dangote has been out of the spotlight when it comes to Arsenal Football Club in the past year.
That is not entirely unexpected, given the coronavirus pandemic that has swept the globe.
Football club takeovers are not exactly high on the agenda for businessmen and women around the world given the financial implications of the pandemic.
However, talks over a potential takeover at Arsenal could start up in the not too distant future.
Dangote, who is the richest man in Africa, has made no secret in the past of his desire to buy out Stan Kroenke at Arsenal and become the owner at the Emirates Stadium.
In June2015 , Dangote admitted he was interested in buying Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith’s 15.9% stake in 2011, which were eventually purchased by Stan Kroenke.
“There were a couple of us who were rushing to buy, and we thought with the prices then, the people who were interested in selling were trying to go for a kill.
“We backtracked, because we were very busy doing other things, especially our industrialisation.
“When we get this refinery on track, I will have enough time and enough resources to pay what they are asking for.”
In September 2016 , he stated that a takeover would be a question of timing rather than money.
“It’s not about buying Arsenal and just continuing with business as usual,” Dangote said.
“It’s about buying Arsenal and turning it around. I’ve run a very successful business and I think I can also run a very successful team. Right now, with what we’re facing, over $20 billion of projects, I cannot do both.
“There’s no doubt [I’ll buy Arsenal], it’s not a problem of money.
“The issue is that we have more challenging headwinds. I need to get those out the way first and start having tailwinds. Then I’ll focus on this.”
In August 2017 , he mentioned the conclusion of the oil refinery as the key time, saying: “I don’t want to go after Arsenal until I deliver the refinery. Once I deliver, I will go after Arsenal.”
He reiterated that in January 2020 .
“It is a team that yes I would like to buy some day, but what I keep saying is we have $20billion worth of projects and that’s what I really want to concentrate on. I’m trying to finish building the company and then after we finish, maybe some time in 2021 we can.
“I’m not buying Arsenal right now, I’m buying Arsenal when I finish all these projects, because I’m trying to take the company to the next level.”
Dangote is the 206th richest man in the world according to the Forbes Rich List, with a net worth of $11.8billion and has openly stated that the conclusion of his oil refinery in Lagos, Nigeria would be the time when he would think about Arsenal once more.
And that time is edging ever closer.
According to The Africa Report, the refinery is set to be operational in “early 2021”, meaning Dangote could start talks with Kroenke over a takeover in north London.
A timeline of “early 2021” would suggest that the project will be completed at the latest before the end of June and Arsenal fans will be interested to see if Dangote keeps to his word that he will make a move for the Gunners then.