Ace comedian and actor, Atunyota Akpobome, popularly known as Ali Baba, has advised billionaire businessman, Aliko Dangote, against buying Arsenal with their present poor form.
He said this while speaking on PUNCH Online interview programme, Stars Talk Football, where he discussed his love for Arsenal and why he dumped sport for entertainment.
Ali Baba commended moves by Dangote to buy the club from Kroenke Sports & Entertainment.
Dangote and Senator Orji Kalu had indicated an interest in buying stakes in the London club.
The celebrity, however, cautioned that the billionaire businessman may not make his money with the present shape of the club.
When asked about moves by Dangote and Senator Orji Kalu’s move to buy Arsenal, the comedian said, “Yes, Dangote can afford to buy Arsenal or any other club after his refinery project. I think it is a commercial move, not to develop our (local) sport.
“I like the idea of Aliko buying the gunners. But if he buys these kindergarten players, he won’t make his money. I hope that he buys Arsenal, but the influence of an owner is limited. The coach makes the major decisions that help the club to grow.”
He, however, said the richest African man could buy Arsenal when the club have “men” and are in better shape.
Ali Baba, who earlier narrated his involvement in sports, said he had last renewed his Arsenal ticket two seasons ago.
“I have not renewed my tickets for two seasons because of the poor showing,” he added.
Arsenal, which is a delight of many Nigerian football fans, is currently facing a tough time, occupying the 15th position on the English Premier League table.
November 1 victory against Manchester United at Old Trafford is Arsenal’s last in the league as their first full season under Mikel Arteta has spiralled from aiming to reach the Champions League to hoping to avoid the Championship next season.
After winning the FA Cup in August, Arteta earned a promotion from the first-team coach to manager, affording him more control over recruitment.
But many analysts are predicting that the Spaniard could be the next Premier League manager to be sacked, with Arsenal just four points above the relegation zone and facing Chelsea next on Boxing Day.
Kalu, who is the founder of SLOK Holdings and former Abia State Governor, had in November 2020, publicly declared his intention to purchase a 35 per cent stake in Arsenal Football Club via a statement on his official Facebook page.
“As a pillar of sports in Africa, I am considering an investment in football, and I will buy a 35 percent stake in Arsenal football club. Our target is to lift the Champions League and Premier League back to back as we did with Enyimba,” he posted.
While expressing his desire to buy Arsenal in January 2020, the richest man in Africa told the David Rubenstein Show that “It is a team that, yes, I would like to buy someday, but what I keep saying is we have $20 billion (£15 billion) worth of projects and that’s what I really want to concentrate on,” Dangote told
“I’m trying to finish building the company and then, after we finish, maybe sometime in 2021 we can.
“I’m not buying Arsenal right now, I’m buying Arsenal when I finish all these projects because I’m trying to take the company to the next level.”