Arsenal director Josh Kroenke says the club is not for sale, despite a £1.8bn bid from Daniel Ek, and insists the current owners have big ambitions of their own to bring success back to north London.
Spotify’s Ek wrote to owner Stan Kroenke in May and made the bid, which remains on the table, and in September, Thierry Henry – who backs Ek’s proposed takeover, along with fellow Arsenal legends Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp – told Monday Night Football there had not been a response to the offer.
“To be able to get there, you need to have someone respond on the other side,” Henry said. “It hasn’t happened yet, but we and he is here to stay.”
Asked about that bid by Sky Sports’ Geoff Shreeves in an exclusive interview ahead of Arsenal’s Super Sunday clash with Watford in the Premier League, Josh Kroenke, son of Stan Kroenke, insisted no bids for the club would be accepted right now and that there are significant plans in place to take the club forward under the current ownership.
“We get bids for the club all the time, from many different parties around the world and that speaks to the strength of the Arsenal,” he said. “It’s a wonderful institution, Arsenal Football Club is a global brand and my only response to anything is the club is not for sale, we’re just getting started.
The club is not for sale, we’re just getting started. We’ve only really owned the club since 2018. We have a young manager, we have a young squad and we’re charting our path to the future.
“We’ve only really owned the club since 2018. We have a young manager, we have a young squad and we’re charting our path to the future.
“In the United States we have a certain model [used at other organisations run by Kroenke Sports & Entertainment] and we’re implementing that here, and we have over the last three years, which is, young players, talented players with the right mentality, let them grow together while continuing to sprinkle in talent throughout the squad.
“Eventually it grows into something very special. The power of continuity behind the scenes and people working together and pulling in the same direction is an underrated aspect of pro sports.
“With the power of continuity and allowing this group to grow together, special times are ahead for this club.”
Arsenal were the top spenders during the summer transfer window but have fallen behind more wealthier rivals in recent years, with consecutive eighth-place finishes in the past two seasons a far cry from the run of 20 top-four finishes in a row under Arsene Wenger.
However, Kroenke insists Arsenal supporters should continue to expect their side to compete with the best in the Premier League and set out the club’s strategy to make that a reality.
“Arsenal fans should expect the best. That’s what they’ve expected throughout their history and that shouldn’t change at all,” he said.
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“Do we have to rethink how we’re going to go about achieving those goals? Absolutely. This summer that really played out. We weren’t breaking any transfer records but the net spend was very high.
“We had many areas we needed to address on the pitch, those were addressed with players of a certain quality, of a certain age, and I think what gets left out quite a bit is, we needed to change a few mentalities around here. We needed to get mentally stronger.
“I think from the new signings to the kids that are coming through from Hale End to the senior players that are setting the tone in the dressing room on a daily basis, that mentality is to go out and compete and leave it all on the pitch.
“That is a quality that can make our fans proud, win, lose or draw.
“I think [the top sides] are in a much stronger position than we are right now, as they’ve had a chance, especially over the last several years, to really build their squads to a different place.
“Our strategy has changed drastically. Now the summer has settled and the players are on the pitch, we’re closing the gap slowly but surely.
“They have lots of resources. We have resources as well and as long as we’re using those resources smart, appropriately and intelligently, one plus one eventually will add up to three.”
‘Our goal is to win the Premier League’
Kroenke accepts that the revival of Arsenal into Premier League title contenders may take some time but he says he is increasingly optimistic the Gunners are now back on the right track to deliver future success, with Mikel Arteta in charge.
“I’m growing more confident by the day but there’s a lot of work ahead,” he said.
“Even though we’re starting to show signs of progress, if you don’t keep pushing forwards you’ll stagnate. That’s a big focus of ours right now: what are our next steps?
“Do we feel good about where we are? We feel better about where we are, we don’t feel good. Our fans still deserve more.
“We need to get back into the top four, we need to start qualifying for the Champions League regularly, and with that Champions League qualification comes a different level of how you can recruit players. The best players want to play in the best league in the world, which is the Champions League, outside of the Premier League.
“When you start competing consistently for the Premier League trophy you’re pretty much competing for the rest of the trophies in the sport, so our goal is to win the Premier League.
“Once we’re in the conversation for the Premier League I think that’s when interesting things will really start to happen elsewhere as well.”