Swedish billionaire Daniel Ek – co-founder and chief executive of music streaming service Spotify – has declared his interest in buying Arsenal.
On a night of intensive fan protests outside the Emirates Stadium calling for owner Stan Kroenke to sell up, Ek said he would be keen if Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE) decided to heed their calls.
Ek said on Twitter: “As a kid growing up, I’ve cheered for Arsenal as long as I can remember. If KSE would like to sell Arsenal I’d be happy to throw my hat in the ring.”
Ek is worth £3.38bn (€4.7bn) according to Forbes, following the worldwide success of Spotify. In 2017 he was named the most influential person in the music business by American magazine Billboard.
He appeared to be reaching out to supporters as thousands massed outside the Emirates as Arsenal took on Everton, live on Sky Sports, on Friday night in protest at Kroenke’s involvement in the aborted attempt to set up a breakaway European Super League.
Many supporters have been unhappy with his management of the club for some time, having failed to qualify for the Champions League for the last three seasons running and struggled in midtable again this term under Mikel Arteta.
Kroenke’s son Josh spoke to a fans forum this week in which they apologised for their involvement, but they have since declared they have “no intention” of selling the club despite the controversy.
Manager Arteta said on Thursday Kroenke, chief executive Vinai Venkatesham and other figures at the London club involved in the Super League plan had apologised to the players and himself.
And ahead of kick-off on Friday, he said the team would continue to listen to the noise created by supporters outside the Emirates during the game.
“Well we hear it, we know what they [the fans] think but our responsibility should be on trying the best possible way to play the match, and that’s it,” he said.
“Obviously it doesn’t help when you have your fans standing out there on a matchday and saying loud and clear to us they’re not happy with something.
“But our job again is to win the football match and when that happens everything is better.”
Alan Smith: ‘Ignorant’ ESL plan points to Kroenke’s absence
Alan Smith has labelled Arsenal’s owners “ignorant” following their involvement in the doomed European Super League proposals, but insists he is not surprised by a decision indicative of Stan Kroenke’s distant ownership of the club.
“I wasn’t surprised Arsenal were involved, given they have an American owner, an absent owner, who rarely says anything regarding the football club,” Smith told Sky Sports.
“There is very little bond between Stan Kroenke and the club. He rarely comes over. His son has a more hands-on connection with the club, but Josh is new to the game, he’s not been brought up around football.
“Kroenke obviously has seen that model work in the States with the NFL, NBA, and along with the Liverpool and Manchester United owners, they have seen how profitable it could be. I don’t think they understand how the European mind thinks about our sporting culture. It was ignorant not to appreciate there would be such a backlash. It beggars belief.
“For Stan, it’s about figures on the page and profits and losses. There is no emotion there. Myself and the majority of Arsenal fans are not surprised he jumped into it, but so did some other clubs. Maybe they had some misgivings and had to be persuaded, but they were persuaded and that’s the damning thing.”