Nigerian billionaire Orji Kalu has been linked with a move to buy Premier League giants Arsenal in recent weeks. The 60-year-old, who has built his fortune from numerous business ventures, recently announced that he is keen to purchase a 35 per cent stake in the club, which is currently wholly owned by Stan Kroenke, in order to help the club win trophies.
Kalu has previous football experience having backed Enyimba FC in his native Nigeria between 2000 and 2007, providing considerable funding to allow them to dominate the country’s top flight.
He tweeted on Monday: “Our success with Enyimba FC between 2000-2007 has continuously increased my passion for football.
“As the pillar of sports in Africa, I am considering an investment in football & I will buy 35 per cent stake in Arsenal FC. Our target is to lift the Champions League & EPL back to back as we did with Enyimba.”
Kalu may have an indication of how much it would cost to carry out his intentions, but previous comments from the brother of Ineos chief Sir Jim Ratcliffe may highlight a problem for the Nigerian should he wish to take full control of Arsenal in the future.
Bob Ratcliffe, who is head of the football division at Ineos – the owners of Ligue 1 outfit Nice – revealed in January the price of taking over a top Premier League club.
He told the Financial Times’ Business of Football Summit that a move to gain full control of a ‘top six’ could cost ‘at least £2 billion’, which is around twice as much as Kalu’s estimated net worth.
Meanwhile, taking over one of the other Premier League sides would come at a price of between £150 million and £350 million, with Ratcliffe adding that ‘they’re all for sale’.
Arsenal’s current chief Kroenke, who became a billionaire through his real estate and entertainment ventures, took full control of the club in 2018 after buying Alisher Usmanov’s minority stake.
The Gunners have endured a tricky start to the season, losing four of their opening eight Premier League matches.
Their last outing resulted in an embarrassing 3-0 home defeat at the hands of Aston Villa.
Mikel Arteta’s side will be looking to return to winning ways with a trip to Leeds United, who have lost their last two games, on Sunday.
The Spaniard will be without marquee summer signing Thomas Partey after the midfielder was ruled out due to a thigh injury.