Could Arsene Wenger’s days with Arsenal be numbered? It’s not impossible if Allko Dangote gets his way.
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The Nigerian billionaire has previously declared interest in purchasing the north London club and now says if he managed to do so he would likely sack veteran manager Arsene Wenger.
In an interview with the Metro, Dangote reveals that he would replace the Frenchman with Patrick Vieira and make his compatriot Thierry Henry assistant manager.
“Wenger needs to change his style a bit. They need a new direction,” Dangote said. “I still hope I will buy the team. I might buy it, not at a ridiculous price but a price that the owners won’t want to resist. I know my strategy.
“The plan would be to get Patrick (Vieira) and Thierry (Henry) on the coaching staff for a period before giving them the reins and with Arsene taking a place on the board and eventually becoming chairman.”
Neither Vieira nor Henry have any real managerial experience to date – though Vieira has been successful as Manchester City U-21 boss and is tipped as a potential world class coach of the future – but the duo are classed as club legends amongst the Emirates faithful.
Vieira was Arsenal skipper during his time with the club from 1996 to 2005, whilst Henry played for the Gunners from 1999 to 2007 and is the club’s record goalscorer.
Dangote has an estimated net worth of £10 billion and is the richest man in Africa.
Current majority shareholder Stan Kroenke owns more than two-thirds of the club with over 41,000 shares, estimated to be worth around £14,000 each.
With no clear desire to sell, if Dangote tried to buy out Kroenke it’s likely it would therefore cost him well above the market value of £600 million.
In his 19-year career as Arsenal boss, Wenger has led the club to three Premier League titles as well as five FA Cups, a record he could soon be about to extend with another final on the horizon against Aston Villa. He is widely regarded as the Gunners greatest ever manager.