Arsenal: John Cross comments on takeover talk
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Paul Merson has revealed that he is not completely sold on Spotify founder Daniel Ek’s plan to buy Arsenal from current owner Stan Kroenke, suggesting that the Swedish billionaire’s social media antics could be the result of a planned publicity stunt. Ek announced last month that he would be open to launching a takeover bid in the near future, with his reported £1.8billion proposal backed by Gunners legends Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira.
Kroenke has been heavily criticised by Arsenal supporters in the wake of the European Super League fiasco that posed a significant threat to the face of professional football as we know it.
The controversial American was hardly the most popular man in north London even before the plans were unveiled, earning the nickname ‘Silent Stan’ due to his absentee style of ownership and reluctance to engage with fans.
The 73-year-old has also been slammed for a sustained lack of investment in the playing squad and wider club since becoming a shareholder in 2007.
Ek, a lifelong Arsenal fan, appears to have given the Gunners faithful hope by revealing his interest in completing a takeover, but Merson has been less than impressed with the 38-year-old’s conduct in recent days.
The Spotify chief has been surprisingly vocal about his plans on social media and when speaking to the press, doubling down on his claims earlier this week in a tell-all interview with CNBC.
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With the vast majority of ownership changes taking place behind closed doors and in a secretive manner, Ek’s outspoken approach has baffled Merson, who has raised suspicions that an ulterior motive could be at play.
“Is Daniel Ek serious about buying Arsenal? I’m always dubious of things like this,” wrote the former Gunners midfielder in his Daily Star column.
“Who would put on Twitter that they want to buy a football club? I can’t imagine if you wanted to buy JP Morgan you’d do it on social media.
“But everyone’s heard of Spotify now, haven’t they? Call me a cynic but it’s great free advertising for them.
“If he buys Arsenal I’ll say fair play to him. But I find it very strange. If you really wanted to take over the club you wouldn’t do it like this.”
Although Ek appears to be keen on taking over the reins from Kroenke, it remains to be seen whether the latter would be willing to part ways with Arsenal at any price.
He claimed in a recent statement that no bids will be entertained for the foreseeable future, but Ek has stressed that his planned offer is lucrative enough to spark a change of heart.
Despite the Swede’s optimism, Merson claimed that the fury of supporters will not be enough to force Kroenke’s hand, suggesting that any takeover plans will go up in smoke.
“I can’t see any way in a million years that Stan Kroenke sells anyway,” added Merson.
“Arsenal makes him money. It’s not like he lives here and the fans can make his life a misery and hound him out. He never goes to the games.
“He’s under no pressure to sell and I don’t see why he would. He’s not fussed about the fans. If he was, he wouldn’t have signed up for the Super League.
“I would say Arsenal are stuck with him. Will all this heat convince him to spend some money on players? Let’s see. But I doubt it.”
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