Spotify chief executive Daniel Ek insists his Arsenal takeover bid is “very serious” as manager Mikel Arteta said the current owners would do anything it takes to improve their relationship with supporters.
Swedish billionaire Ek last week said he would be interested in purchasing the Premier League club, which is owned by Stan Kroenke through his Kroenke Sports and Entertainment (KSE) business.
But any potential deal looks to have been scuppered following a staunch response from the Gunners’ American owners, who say they have not received any bids.
“In recent days we have noted media speculation regarding a potential takeover bid for Arsenal Football Club,” read a KSE statement on Tuesday.
“We remain 100 per cent committed to Arsenal *and are not selling* any stake in the club.”
Supporters protested against Kroenke outside the Emirates Stadium on Friday as Arsenal’s involvement in the failed European Super League further widened the divide between owners and fans.
Despite KSE ruling out a sale, Ek told CNBC that he has a “compelling offer” for the club and that he has already secured the necessary finances to back the move.
“I’ve been an Arsenal fan since I was eight years old. Arsenal is my team. I love the history. I love the players. And of course, I love the fans,” he said.
“So as I look at that, I just see a tremendous opportunity to set a real vision for the club to bring it back to its glory. And I want to establish trust with fans and I want to engage the fans again.
“So, to answer your question, I’m very serious. You know, I have secured the funds for it and I want to bring what I think is a very compelling offer to the owners and I hope they hear me out.”
Asked whether Kroenke’s perceived lack of interest in the club he follows made him “angry”, Ek added: “I’ve been a fan for 30 years of this club and I certainly didn’t expect that this would happen overnight and I’m prepared that this could be a long journey.
“But all I can do is prepare what I think is a very thoughtful offer and bring it to them and hope they hear me out.
“I’m just focused on the club, I focus on the fans and I focus on trying to bring the club back to glory and as you said, I’m first and foremost a fan. That’s the most important thing for me and I want the club to do better – that’s my primary interest.”
Often dubbed “Silent Stan” for his lack of on-the-record conversations about Arsenal, Arteta defended Kroenke and his son Josh – who made a rare appearance at a fan forum last week.
“I don’t know if that will be the case,” Arteta replied when asked about Kroenke speaking publicly.
“If we all feel that is necessary and would be helpful, I’m sure they would do anything it takes to bring the fans closer to them.
“If they (the fans) get the opportunity to know them, I think most of them would be surprised. And if that is the case, I think that will benefit everybody at the football club.
“It will benefit the fans and bring a lot of clarity. If there is a way to do that and it is going to be helpful, let’s do it, if that is what is necessary.”
Arteta refused to use the Super League debacle or fan protest as an excuse for a poor performance in Friday’s defeat to Everton – but admits he hopes KSE’s statement will end takeover talk.
“It closes a lot of the speculation regarding what could happen because they moved straight away and made very clear lines of their understanding and what they want to do with the football club,” he said.
“We spoke to them (KSE) and I think it was very clear. They have shown their commitment and ambition to the football club because we all want a successful team on the pitch. It was very clear and took any doubt out of the situation.
“A lot of talks and a lot of speculation has been surrounding the situation in the last week or so, our fans raised their voices during the match against Everton.
“But now we have a very clear and very committed statement from the ownership, and I think that it (the speculation) is gone when they said what they did last night.
“They showed the commitment and the desire to take the team where we all want. I think it is very clear where we are moving forward.”