Aliko Dangote wants to buy Arsenal. Meet the ‘second most powerful black man in the world after Obama’, who is twice as rich as Roman Abramovich and loves being dapper
Africa's richest man Aliko Dangote has caused a stir by announcing he would like to buy Arsenal. Dangote may not be well known to English fans but he certainly has the money to achieve his dream should the current majority shareholder, Stan Kroenke, give him any encouragement. Sportsmail takes a closer look at the billionaire with ambitions to join the Premier League elite.
JUST WHO IS ALIKO DANGOTE?
He's a 57-year-old Nigerian who has amassed a fortune by becoming majority shareholder in giant cement, flour and sugar companies. Dangote Sugar supplies 90 per cent of Nigeria's 170million population – that is a lot of sales. He is also building a private oil refinery in one of the country's jungle swamps which is due for completion in 2018.
OW RICH IS HE?
Forbes have him down as the 67th richest person in the world with a fortune of more than £12billion. It would make him the wealthiest owner in the Premier League, almost twice as rich as Roman Abramovich, who is listed at No 137. He hails from a family of entrepreneurs in Nigeria's second city Kano, and his uncle gave him a loan at 21 to start his own business empire.
IS HE AN IMPORTANT PERSON?
A Forbes survey called him the second most powerful black man in the world behind US President Barack Obama. He is one of the continent's prime movers-and-shakers and Obama made sure he met him when giving a speech in Soweto in 2013. When America comes up with a business and anti-terrorism strategy for Africa, Dangote is one of the first figures they would consult with.
WHAT IS THE ARSENAL CONNECTION?
When he was a mere billionaire rather than multi-billionaire, Dangote tried to buy a 15 per cent stake in Arsenal from Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith, who eventually sold to Kroenke. With Boko Haram still a threat in Nigeria, it makes sense for Dangote to diversify his interests and earn greater international credibility, as Abramovich has done. And as he gets richer with Nigeria possessing so many natural resources like oil, it becomes more feasible. With guaranteed worldwide television incomes running into billions, A-list businessmen are finding the top Premier League clubs increasingly attractive.
WHAT IS HIS LIFESTYLE LIKE?
He lives on Victoria Island, the most exclusive part of Nigeria's most populous city Lagos, in a mansion which has bulletproof windows as evidence of his vast wealth and allure for potential kidnappers. A Muslim, he studied business at Cairo University in Egypt and has three children. He has a reputation for being dapper right down to a well-maintained moustache.
WHAT HAS THE REACTION BEEN IN NIGERIA TO HIS INTEREST IN ARSENAL?
Surprisingly downbeat. Nigeria has a huge population, big resources and most people think there is enough money in the country to invest internally rather than join football's money train to Europe. The Nigerian League badly needs improved infrastructure to keep the most talented players. Former Nigeria coach Adegboye Onigbinde summed up the mood by saying: 'For him not to think of our league shows that something is terribly wrong. First and foremost, he is a businessman and so it is only normal for him to spread his tentacles wisely. What we need more in this country is someone to back the overhauling of our grassroots programmes.'
WHAT ARE HIS PROSPECTS?
It entirely depends on what Kroenke is thinking. As his nickname is 'Silent Stan' and he keeps his thoughts to himself, that is anyone's guess. Dangote is clearly a serious player but having got to a position when Arsenal are making money after building their new Emirates Stadium, Kroenke may want to reap the rewards for a few years. However, at the age of 67, Dangote may be able to persuade Kroenke to take a whopping great sum of money and retire his retirement.
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