Gary Lineker has warned Arsenal fans over the proposed takeover of the club by Spotify founder Daniel Ek. The Swedish billionaire has emerged as a credible new owner over the past five days, having joined forces with club legends Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp to try and buy out the Kroenke family.
Ek has excited Arsenal fans who are unhappy with owner Stan Kroenke following the Gunners’ involvement in the controversial European Super League plans.
On Friday he tweeted: “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.”
Since then the story has gathered pace, with the Daily Telegraph reporting that Ek is collaborating with Henry, Vieira and Bergkamp to try and oust Kroenke from the club.
Club director Josh Kroenke told a fans forum last week that the Kroenke family currently has “no intention of selling” Arsenal, but the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust said on Friday they “will support any potential purchaser who will allow fans to own a real equity stake and give fans a meaningful say in how our club is run”.
Reacting to information from Sky Sports News, who reported on Tuesday that Ek is an “Arsenal obsessive” who watches games “during Spotify board meetings,” Arsenal Fan TV wrote on Twitter: “This is the kind of guy we want running our club.”
Many Gunners supporters feel that the Kroenke’s, who have run the club since 2011, are not connected to the community aspect of the club and are solely focused on the financial side of things.
However, former Tottenham and Leicester striker Lineker has waded into the debate by questioning whether Ek’s motivation to own Arsenal is much different from the current hierarchy.
Replying to AFTV, the Match of the Day presenter tweeted: “This is a big part of the problem. Fans want these billionaires to buy their clubs… just hoping for better billionaires than the ones they already have.”
After an Arsenal fan replied saying that Ek’s status as a genuine supporter of the club made all the difference, Lineker alluded to criticism of the 38-year-old’s business model at Spotify by musicians and artists.
“I’m sure all these owners want the team to do well,” Lineker added.
“This one has not exactly been generous to musicians, but I’m sure he’d be different with footballers and your club. If it happens, I hope it works for you… but.”
Someone else replied to Lineker’s original tweet, disagreeing with his point about the potential Arsenal takeover by comparing it favourably to the situations at Manchester United and Manchester City.
Lineker shot back: “When the club can’t afford top players and gradually slide into mid-table mediocrity or worse, I hope you continue to feel the same way.”