THE Kroenke family HAVE put Arsenal up for sale despite insisting publicly they want to stay, according to reports.

And Daniel Ek and his consortium have held a meeting with the Arsenal Supporters Trust as the Spotify founder steps up his takeover bid.

It is also claimed that Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote could have bought the club for £1.7bn two years ago.

That price is understood to be around the valuation Ek has of the club.

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Stay up to date with every twist and turn from North London in our live blog…

  • Marc Mayo

    TAKEOVER TALK

    Daniel Ek’s bid to buy Arsenal is gathering pace and has the approval of the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust.

    They state: "The AST welcomed a recent approach from Daniel Ek and his consortium partners Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira, and that they said meeting us was a priority for them. 

    “A constructive meeting was held and we were encouraged to hear their commitment to making the role of fans central to their proposals. This is very welcome and we look forward to further dialogue.

    "We will engage with anyone who has a serious proposal as it is important any current or future owner is aware of the importance of working with fans. We also continue to seek a constructive and meaningful dialogue with Stan and Josh Kroenke.

    "Our message to all of them is simple: Football needs to change. Arsenal needs to change

    "The major change that must take place is for fans to be given a greater role in the ownership and governance of the club."

  • Marc Mayo

    DON'T LUIZ HOPE

    Arsenal are reportedly hopeful that David Luiz will play again this season.

    Having spent much time on the sidelines this season, the veteran returned against Newcastle on Sunday.

    But he was forced off with a hamstring injury, creating fears that the out-of-contract defender will not play again for the club.

    According to the Mail, the Gunners are confident he will return before the season's end.

    Credit: AP
  • Marc Mayo

    KAM AND GET IT

    Former Arsenal youth star Glen Kamara is on the club's radar for a summer switch.

    According to Football Insider, the Rangers star will be offered a five-year contract at Emirates Stadium if a deal can be done.

    Kamara has two years left on his contract with the Scottish champions, who are keen to tie him down further.

  • Joshua Jones

    GOOD MORNING ARSENAL FANS

    Spotify CEO Daniel Ek will reportedly submit a formal bid in the region of £1.8billion to Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke by the end of the week.

    The Swedish billionaire is poised to test the American’s resolve by turning his interest into a concrete offer.

    Ek, 38, is so desperate to take control of his beloved side, he has teamed up with Invincibles Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp.

    Speaking to CNBC last week, Ek – valued at more than £3bn – insisted he has the funds to assume control of Arsenal. That came after the Kroenke family issued a statement where they declared they will not entertain any offers.

    But it has been claimed that Arsenal ARE up for sale, with Kroenke willing to do business for the right price. And according to the Telegraph, Ek will submit an offer by the end of the week after attempting to make contact with Kroenke over the weekend.

    Sky Sports have stated that Ek will bid £1.8bn, and even if the offer is rejected, his interest will not go away.

    Henry also confirmed he is part of Ek’s bid last last night.

    When asked if he was part of the potential takeover team, Henry – speaking on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football – said: “It is true.

    “Daniel [Ek] is an Arsenal fan. He did not say it for any publicity, he has been an Arsenal fan for a very long time. He approached us, we listened to him. And we knew, first and foremost, that he wanted to involve the fans.”

    Elsewhere, the Premier League and FA have vowed to crush the Super League plotters if they attempt another breakaway.

    In a move to reassure fans the threat has been killed off for good, the FA launched an inquiry by demanding full and frank answers from Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Spurs and the two Manchester giants.

    And the Premier League promised it will change its rulebook to dismiss any possibility of the rebels coming back for a second attempt.

    A Prem statement read: “The Premier League has prepared a series of measures to enshrine the core principles of the professional game an open pyramid, progression through sporting merit and the highest standards of sporting integrity.

    “These measures are designed to stop the threat of breakaway leagues in future.”

    The Big Six are facing disrepute charges for their parts in the attempted coup. FA top brass are understood to feel heavy fines are more likely, rather than punishments that would hit the fans such as points deductions.

  • William Pugh

    BREAKAWAY BAN

    The Premier League and FA have vowed to crush the Super League plotters if they attempt another breakaway.

    In a move to reassure fans the threat has been killed off for good, the FA launched an inquiry by demanding full and frank answers from Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Spurs and the two Manchester giants.

    And the Premier League promised it will change its rulebook to dismiss any possibility of the rebels coming back for a second attempt.

    A Prem statement read: “The Premier League has prepared a series of measures to enshrine the core principles of the professional game an open pyramid, progression through sporting merit and the highest standards of sporting integrity.

    “These measures are designed to stop the threat of breakaway leagues in future.”

    The Big Six are facing disrepute charges for their parts in the attempted coup. FA top brass are understood to feel heavy fines are more likely, rather than punishments that would hit the fans such as points deductions.

  • William Pugh

    ARSENAL FIND ‘ALLY’ IN RODRIGUEZ PURSUIT

    Arsenal have reportedly found an ally in their pursuit of Real Betis midfielder Guido Rodriguez.

    Mikel Arteta is believed to be interested in the 27-year-old as he looks to boost his defensive midfield options.

    Rodriguez has impressed for Betis since joining from Mexican side America last summer, making 41 appearances.

    And Spanish newspaper Estadio Deportivo are reporting that River Plate – Rodrgiuez’s first club – are monitoring the situation.

    Should the player make a rumoured £43.5million switch to the Emirates, the Argentine side may receive a chuck of the fee due to ‘training rights’.

  • William Pugh

    ARTETA DOESN’T FEAR SACK

    Although some may think he’s not far away from being sacked, Mikel Arteta isn’t concerned.

    When asked about losing his job – before Sunday’s game against Newcastle – the Gunners boss said: “Well, I don’t want to think that way.

    “I want to think that we are going to be in that [Europa League] final and then we are going to have really positive consequences after that.”

  • William Pugh

    ARTETA TO BE SACKED?

    Tony Cascarino believes Arsenal and Tottenham are a ‘mess’.

    The former Aston Villa and Chelsea striker also thinks Mikel Arteta will be sacked if the Gunners start next season poorly.

    Speaking to TalkSport yesterday, Cascarino said: “I was just thinking about how much of a mess these two clubs have got themselves into and it stems from ownership. That has played a massive part.

    “The clubs are in a mess. Both have built new stadiums, state of the art. The Emirates was brilliant when it was built. Compete with the very best in Europe and Tottenham have done likewise.

    “The problem is they’re a mess on the field. Things are going to be changing at those two clubs. Arteta has got a massive challenge in reinventing Arsenal.

    “He will get this summer to do that but 10 games into next year, if things are not very different, he won’t survive.”

  • William Pugh

    EK OF AN OFFER

    Spotify CEO Daniel Ek will reportedly submit a formal bid in the region of £1.8billion to Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke by the end of the week.

    The Swedish billionaire is poised to test the American's resolve by turning his interest into a concrete offer.

    Ek, 38, is so desperate to take control of his beloved side, he has teamed up with Invincibles Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp.

    Speaking to CNBC last week, Ek- valued at over £3bn – insisted he has the funds to assume control of Arsenal. That came after the Kroenke family issued a statement where they declared they will not entertain any offers.

    But it has been claimed that Arsenal ARE up for sale, with Kroenke willing to do business for the right price. And according to the Telegraph, Ek will submit an offer by the end of the week after attempting to make contact with Kroenke over the weekend.

    Sky Sports have stated that Ek will bid £1.8bn, and even if the offer is rejected, his interest will not go away.

  • William Pugh

    END BEN BAN

    Arsene Wenger has called for France to end their six-year exile of Karim Benzema following his alleged role in a plot to blackmail Mathieu Valbuena.

    The Real Madrid star, 33, hasn't played for the reigning world champions since 2015. Benzema is alleged to have been involved in a plan to blackmail Valbuena over an X-rated video on his mobile phone.

    The forward will go on trial in October – but Arsenal legend and fellow Frenchman Wenger insists Benzema should be allowed to play at Euro 2020 as his exile is for non-footballing reasons.

    Wenger told EFE: "The non-call up of Benzema is not dependent on the quality of the player.

    "For me, Benzema deserves 100 per cent to be called up for the European Championship… He could play for any national team.

    "It is because of an extra and non-sport problem that he is not playing. He has been playing for Real Madrid for more than ten years as a starter, and his record is excellent."

  • William Pugh

    HEN-EST AND TRANSPARENT

    Thierry Henry finished by saying Daniel Ek will be 'honest' and 'transparent' with fans – and has already held talks with the Arsenal Supporters' Trust.

    The Frenchman concluded: "Daniel is an honest man, transparent. Fans want to know what might happen at their club.

    "We had a discussion with the Arsenal Supporters' Trust and he was very open with them and he wants to be open.

    "He wants to buy the club, he reached out, and there is going to be a bid.

    "If I wasn't part of the bid, I would have backed it up from afar. Because I want the club to be run a bit better and the fans to be involved.

    "It is not so much only about what's happening on the field, it is what's happening off the field. And the fans are not happy about it."

  • William Pugh

    Henry added: "As a marketing guy, you can see what [Ek] did with his company. But, more importantly, he is a fan. He wants to make sure that the team can be what it used to be.

    "That is what he wants to bring, and what we want to bring – the identity and the DNA of the club back, and people who care about the club.

    "If you had fans on board, this European Super League thing would never had happened."

    However, Henry did warn excited fans – who protested against Kroenke last week – not to get too ahead of themselves as the takeover process could go on for a 'very long time'.

    He said: "The takeover is going to be a long, and not easy. And Daniel will not move away, he will be there waiting to see if they want to sell. That's going to take a very long time.

    "We know what we want to do but, first and foremost, we need to make sure that we take over, if they are listening."

  • William Pugh

    MORE FROM HENRY ON EK BID

    Thierry Henry continued by revealing not only does Daniel Ek, 38, want to involve the fans in a bid to bring back the 'Arsenal DNA' but he has already got the money in place.

    The French idol added: "He wants to re-inject the Arsenal DNA, the identity that I think is long gone. They don't have a lot of Arsenal people among the board who can show the right direction, and that's what Daniel wants to do.

    "He already reached out and said himself that he has collected the funds to put in a good bid. A lot of people have been screaming that they want the owner out…

    "We are trying to offer a solution, involving the fans and the DNA back at the club."

    Henry continued by saying Ek will bring a superb blend of marketing know-how AND passionate fandom to the club should his takeover plot be successful.

    The former striker even said Ek would never have allowed Arsenal to have become embroiled in the failed, controversial European Super League plot which sparked wild fan protests.

  • William Pugh

    THIERR WE GO – BREAKING

    Thierry Henry has CONFIRMED he is part of the Daniel Ek's group attempting to take over Arsenal in a £2billion deal.

    Last week it was claimed Spotify CEO and Gunners fan Ek had teamed up with Invincibles Henry, Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp to try and buy the club.

    Shortly afterwards, current Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke released a statement defiantly stating he will 'not sell any stake in the club'.

    And now Henry, 43, has confirmed he is part of the consortium ahead of a £2bn takeover and revealed the group's vision for the future at the Emirates.

    When asked if he was part of the potential takeover team, Henry – speaking on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football – said: "It is true.

    "Daniel [Ek] is an Arsenal fan. He did not say it for any publicity, he has been an Arsenal fan for a very long time. He approached us, we listened to him. And we knew, first and foremost, that he wanted to involve the fans."

  • William Pugh

    BOSS VAN

    Robin van Persie has joined Feyenoord's Under-16 team as assistant manager and will be coaching his own son Shaqueel next season.

    Arsenal and Manchester United legend Van Persie has cemented himself as one of the greatest strikers in Premier League history.

    But the Netherlands' record goalscorer ended his glittering career two years ago at his boyhood club Feyenoord.

    After his retirement the 37-year-old was hired by the Rotterdam giants as the first team's striker coach on a part-time basis.

    However, the Algemeen Dagblad report that Feyenoord decided to promote him to the youth squad under manager Brian Pinas.

    Van Persie is now set to work with his son Shaqueel, 14, who has apparently taken after his father on the pitch.

    Robin van Persie will take over as Feyenoord's Under-16s assistant manager
    Robin van Persie will be coaching his son Shaqueel at Feyenoord
  • William Pugh

    OWNING UP

    Wembley chiefs confirmed the FA has begun its formal investigation into the proposed breakaway, demanding answers from all of the Big Six.

    And the Prem agreed, vowing to ensure its rulebook would rule out any possibility of the plotters coming back for a second attempt.Club chiefs will also have to sign an 'Owners' charter' in future.

    A statement read: “The Premier League, supported by The FA, is taking the following actions to protect our game, our clubs and their fans from further disruption and uncertainty:

    “Additional rules and regulation to ensure the principles of the Premier League and open competition are protected A new Owners’ Charter that all club owners will be required to sign up to, committing them to the core principles of the Premier League.

    “Breaches of these rules and the Charter will be subject to significant sanctions. We are enlisting the support of Government to bring in appropriate legislation to protect football’s open pyramid, principles of sporting merit and the integrity of the football community.

    “And we will work with the fan groups, Government, Uefa, The FA, EFL, PFA and LMA to defend the integrity and future prospects of English Football.”

    Credit: PA
  • William Pugh

    STATE OF THE ART

    Santi Cazorla has backed Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta as the “right man” to lead his former club forward despite this year’s “inconsistent” campaign.

    Cazorla spent six years at the Emirates following his arrival from Malaga in 2012 and became close friends with Arteta while they both played under legendary manager Arsene Wenger.

    Cazorla told uefa.com: “I think he’s the right man to take the club forward. It’s difficult to follow a period like Wenger’s – the club has to adapt to another kind of football, another philosophy, another vision of football.

    “He’s got a clear idea of how he wants his team to play, they’re in the semi-finals and they did well in the FA Cup [last season].

    “They have been pretty inconsistent but you’ve got to give him time and I think they’re convinced that Mikel can get a lot out of the squad and achieve big things.

    “I’m great friends with him and whatever good happens to him and the club I’d be happy for them because I’m a ‘Gunner’.”

    Credit: Mark Robinson – The Sun
  • William Pugh

    EUR IN WITH A CHANCE

    Up to 9,500 fans will be allowed into the Europa League final, Uefa have confirmed.

    Local authorities in Gdansk, Poland have announced they plan to allow up to 25 per cent of the stadium's capacity to be filled for the May 26 showpiece. Manchester United look set to be there after a 6-2 first leg win over Roma while Arsenal have to overcome a 2-1 loss to Villareal to make it.

    Uefa said: "Ticket sales have now started exclusively on UEFA.com and will run until 14.00 CEST on Friday 7 May 2021. Supporters from abroad will have to comply with border entry restrictions and requirements that will be in force at the time of the final as no exemptions will be granted to ticket holders.

    "Access to the stadium will be granted in line with the applicable local legislation, which is to be confirmed by the local authorities during this week and may include the need for proof of a vaccine or a negative COVID-19 test result.

    "UEFA will reimburse the full price of the ticket to successful buyers, should a reduction to the stadium capacity be announced by the local authorities at a later stage.

    "For the sales process on UEFA.com, tickets will not be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Instead, a ballot will be conducted to allocate the tickets once the application period has ended."

  • William Pugh

    SAN-TASTIC TO ME

    Santi Cazorla has heaped praise on Arsenal fans and says he doesn't know why they love him so much.

    The Spaniard spoke to Uefa ahead of the Gunners' Europa League semi-final against another of Cazorla's old clubs Villareal.

    He said: "I enjoyed myself the most in the Premier League. For me, playing at the Arsenal Stadium every fortnight was wonderful, in front of our fans in such a lovely and amazing stadium.

    "It's something I really miss because it's a special feeling.

    "I don't know why the fans have been so good to me as I've only done what I did at every club, trying to do things the right way and bringing something to the table, and the love they gave and still give me is priceless.

    "It's unforgettable and it's down to them that I'm such a Gunner."

  • Thomas Blow

    XHAKA COULD HAVE SEEN RED – GALLAGHER

    Dermot Gallagher believes Granit Xhaka was lucky not to receive a red card against Newcastle yesterday.

    The Swiss midfielder caught Sean Longstaff with his elbow when he was already on a yellow.

    The ex-Premier League referee told Sky Sports: "I thought it was a body check.

    "I saw that he had already had a yellow card for a hack at Allan Saint-Maximin earlier in the game and I see this and think the referee [Mike Dean] has got a decision to make – does he give him a last warning, does he give him a second yellow card and send him off?

    "He chose the former, but had he chosen the latter, Xhaka could not have complained."

  • Thomas Blow

    ARTETA 'RIGHT MAN' – CAZORLA

    Arsenal hero Santi Cazorla believes Mikel Arteta is the right man to take the club forward.

    The Gunners boss is under huge pressure following a disappointing campaign.

    Speaking to Uefa, Cazorla said: "I think he's the right man to take the club forward. 

    "It's difficult to follow a period like Wenger's – the club has to adapt to another kind of football, another philosophy, another vision of football.

    "He's got a clear idea of how he wants his team to play, they're in the semi-finals and they did well in the FA Cup [last season].

    "They have been pretty inconsistent but you've got to give him time and I think they're convinced that Mikel can get a lot out of the squad and achieve big things."

  • Thomas Blow

    'PRAY FOR ME TO SCORE'

    Mohamed Elneny has expressed his delight at scoring against Newcastle.

    Speaking after yesterday's game, the Arsenal midfielder said: "I was dreaming about it and I was really thinking so much about wanting to score in the Premier League.

    "I've scored in the Champions League, the Europa League but not in the Premier League.

    "This competition is really special for me and I keep always asking my friends to pray for me to score in the Premier League.

    "Today when I scored I was really happy about the goal, but I am more happy to take three points."

  • Thomas Blow

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALEX IWOBI

    It's Alex Iwobi's birthday today as he turns 24.

    The Nigeria international made 100 Premier League appearances for the Gunners before joining Everton in 2019.

    Iwobi was on the bench when Arsenal won the FA Cup in 2017 and was also part of the squad that reached the Europa League final in 2019.

    He's featured 53 times in the Premier League for the Toffees since his move.

  • Thomas Blow

    ARTETA ON ELNENY

    Mikel Arteta was keen to praise Mohamed Elneny after yesterday's victory against Newcastle.

    The Egyptian midfielder scored his first Premier League goal in the win.

    Speaking about the goal after the match, Arteta said: "It was a good one and an important one.

    "You could see the reaction of his team-mates. He's a really popular guy in the dressing room and he totally deserves everything he gets because he's a fantastic player and person to work with."

  • Thomas Blow

    'NOT NICE TO SEE'

    David Luiz's Arsenal career could be over after he limped out of their 2-0 win against Newcastle.

    The 34-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and he may not put pen to paper on a new deal.

    Commentating during yesterday's match, Sky Sports' Don Goodman said: "Depends how serious it is but that could very easily be the end of the season for David Luiz. 

    "You can see his face. He knows. Not nice to see."

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