Spotify founder Daniel Ek is preparing a bid to buy English Premier League soccer club Arsenal, and has reportedly recruited three of the club’s greatest ever players to help him get the deal over the line.
Ek’s first announced his intention to buy the club on Friday amid calls from fans for its current owner, American billionaire Stan Kroenke and his company KSE, to step down following the fallout over the proposed European Super League.
Arsenal was one of 12 teams to announce it had agreed to join the elite breakaway competition last Sunday, however the club had withdrawn from the plans by Wednesday amid huge backlash from fans.
Ahead of Arsenal’s defeat to Everton on Friday, thousands of the club’s fans gathered outside the Emirates Stadium to call for Kroenke to sell up. On Friday evening, lifelong fan Ek tweeted to say he would be open to a takeover.
“As a kid growing up, I’ve cheered for Arsenal as long as I can remember,” said Ek. “If KSE would like to sell Arsenal I’d be happy to throw my hat in the ring.”
According to The Telegraph, the 38-year-old, who is worth $4.6 billion, is now preparing an imminent bid with the help of Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, and Patrick Vieira.
The three players, who made nearly 1000 appearances for Arsenal between them during the 1990s and 2000s, could be handed roles at the club if the bid is successful.
Henry, Arsenal’s all-time top scorer, spoke out against Kroenke and KSE on Friday following the protests from fans.
“This club belongs to the fans,” he told The Telegraph.
“I love the club and I will support the club until I die, but I do not recognize my club and what happened just now, with them trying to join a league that would have been closed, makes no sense to me.
“They have been running the club like a company, not a football club, and they showed their hand. Maybe it’s a lack of understanding of the core football values and maybe the money was too big of a temptation. But whatever it was, they got it wrong. Badly wrong.”
So far, Arsenal has not commented on reports of a possible takeover from Ek, although last week Josh Kroenke, a director of the club and son of owner Stan told fans that the family has “no intention of selling” Arsenal.