Arsenal takeover LIVE: £2.5bn bid 'may tempt Kroenke', Daniel Ek 'secures the funds', transfer news latest

SPOTIFY CEO Daniel Ek claims he has secured the funds to take over Arsenal from unpopular owners the Kroenke family.

But the Swede is said to only value the club at £1.8bn while a bid of £2.5bn would be the minimum needed to get Stan Kroenke talking.

Meanwhile the Gunners – who face Villarreal in the Europa League tonight – have reportedly put Alexandre Lacazette and Hector Bellerin up for sale as they look to raise £120m for new signings.

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

  • Joe Brophy

    MORE FROM ORNSTEIN

    The Athletic's Arsenal correspondent shed some more light on the Gunners failed Super League plans and the proposed takeover.

    He said: “My hunch & from speaking to a number of people is that events of recent weeks – the protest, the Super League that never was for now – is likely to embolden & strengthen Kroenke’s resolve to keep hold of Arsenal.

    “What we’re hearing from Daniel Ek is that he’s here to stay, he’s not going anywhere just because of the [Kroenke] statement, Arteta’s public compliments towards the ownership of Arsenal. Ek is here, he’s going to play the long game.”

  • Joe Brophy

    WHAT THE EK

    Daniel Ek's Arsenal takeover is in doubt following reports that the Spotify co-founder will need to stump up way more than he's currently offering.

    Matt Slater told the Athletic: “The number getting to Daniel Ek has been suggested that he thinks Arsenal is worth £1.8b.

    “I’m sorry – that’s not going to get Kroenke out of bed. If he came at him with £2.5b, there’s a starting point for a conversation.

    “Ek, I’ve learnt, has been thinking about football for a while. Could Ek, or other guys afford Arsenal, afford the type of offer Kroenke would take seriously? Yes. Is it going to happen soon? No.”

  • Joe Brophy

    WALC THIS WAY

    A stunning finish from former Arsenal star Theo Walcott on the last time the Gunners faced tonight's opposition.

  • Joe Brophy

    FORCE OF NATURE

    Simon Jordan has expressed his doubt that Daniel Ek will convince the ‘Darth Vader of English football’ into selling Arsenal.

    He told talkSPORT: “Daniel Ek can’t lose this conversation because the awareness of him as an individual has accelerated ten fold over the last week.

    “He’s chosen to start that fire. There is a lack of dignity because it’s a shameless grab of awareness.

    “He can write a cheque to Stan Kroenke. Stan Kroenke is not going to buckle to public pressure.

    “If you think Stan Kroenke is going to take a billion less because x amount of fans in London are screaming at him then you’re dafter than you look.

    “He is only going to take one deal, which is the deal he’s prepared to take.

    “If Daniel Ek is a media guy, the one thing he’s going to use is the media. It’s interesting to say it’s a long game.

    “He can’t lose because he’s always got this dark force, the Darth Vader of English football Stan Kroenke that’s going to sit there, say nothing and send his son out to do his dirty deeds for him.

    “So with the greatest will in the world, it’s an interesting play, I just can’t see it [happening].

    “I don’t think it’s a play that happens and not at £1.8bn, which is what he’s currently offering.

    “I’ll tell you what compelling is, when Stan Kroenke tells you it’s compelling, not when someone who wants to buy the football club tells you it’s compelling.”

  • Josh Graham

    REINFORCEMENTS AT THE BACK

    Arsenal could sign both a centre-back and right back this summer, according to transfer guru Fabrizio Romano.

    He reports Hector Bellerin could leave the club in the summer and a replacement for the Spanish right-back would be needed.

    And the Gunners are also said to be poised to add a central defender to the squad.

    Brazilian veteran David Luiz could also leave, freeing up the former Chelsea man's spot in Mikel Arteta's playing strength.

  • Josh Graham

    JOURNEY SO FAR

    Remind yourself how Arsenal got to the Europa League semi-final where they face Villarreal tonight.

  • Josh Graham

    REAL DEAL

    Villarreal winger Samuel Chukwueze is dreaming of winning the Europa League and revealed he isn't scared of Arsenal ahead of tonight's semi-final first leg.

    LaLiga ambassador Chukwueze, speaking at an event for LiveScore, said: "When the time comes, it will be up to the coach and the tactics he chooses – all I need to do is just enter the field using the skills I have practiced and give everything I have.

    "We are going to play our football as normal. We are not scared or anything, we are just going to play our football as a team.

    "I’d like you to tell me that I am going to win the Europa League, just tell me that! I want to win the Europa League, thanks!"

  • Josh Graham

    CHANGE OF LUC

    Lucas Torreira will not play for Arsenal this year, according to his father.

    The midfielder is on loan at Atletico Madrid but has made multiple impassioned pleas to be allowed to join boyhood sign Boca Juniors.

    The Uruguayan wants to return to South America to be closer to his family after the death of his mother from Covid-19.

    Dad Ricardo told TNT Sports: "I do not think Lucas will play for Arsenal this year. If it’s not Boca, his destiny will be Italy or France.

    "We are left with the desire, instead of generating joy we generate an inconvenience to Boca’s leadership."

    Credit: AFP
  • Josh Graham

    IN WITH THE OLD

    Arsenal face Villarreal and Mikel Arteta goes head to head with his predecessor Unai Emery in the Europa League tonight.

    How Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta compared after 50 Premier League games
  • Josh Graham

    HARSH WINTER

    Arsenal legend Nigel Winterburn claimed it is the young players propping up Mikel Arteta's flops and the boss would be lost without them.

    Winterburn told Bookmakers.co.uk: "Points wise they’re not a million miles off but the performances suggest, to me, that we’re still way short of the mark.

    “We still don’t know who our best centre-half pairing is, the right-back position looks as though it will need to be filled, we don’t know about the futures of [Martin] Odegaard and [Dani] Ceballos.

    “And then there’s [Alexandre] Lacazette closing in on the end of his contract, [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang has had a poor season.

    “Really, when you look at it, the young players have kept everything going this season as far as I’m concerned.

    “The young players coming through and performing to a high level have enabled the fans to be slightly more patient than they would be under normal circumstances."

  • Josh Graham

    SPAIN AGAIN

    Arsenal have tasted success in Spain before…

    Tonight the Gunners face Villarreal in the Europa League semi-final first leg.

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    A post shared by Arsenal Official (@arsenal)

  • Josh Graham

    ROUD AWAKENING

    Former Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud is reportedly set to depart Chelsea on a free transfer in the summer as he is reluctant to sign a new deal at Stamford Bridge.

    The 34-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season, and while the Blues would be open to extending his stay, the striker is claimed to be close to departing.

    According to Goal, the French World Cup winner is unlikely to sign a new deal in West London after falling down the pecking order.

    Giroud – who has started just eight Premier League matches this term – has played just once in the top-flight since the 0-0 draw against Manchester United in February.

    And it has been said that the ex-Gunners ace is considering his options regarding his next club as he looks for regular game time.

    Credit: Reuters
  • Josh Graham

    FEEL THE BURN

    Arsenal legend Nigel Winterburn says the Gunners are unrecognisable amid a turgid season on the pitch.

    Mikel Arteta's men have the chance to take something from their campaign and face old manager Unai Emery's Villarreal in the Europa League semi-final tonight.

    Winterburn told Bookmakers.co.uk: "They’re going to have to make a few more changes to the squad. How much they’ll do, I don’t know.

    “If I’m honest with you, I think there’s still a huge amount of questions to be asked about the team and Mikel Arteta would probably say so himself if he was asked at the end of the season.

    “There are times when you see glimpses of how good Arsenal can be, and then there are times when you feel as though it’s just not the club we all recognise.

    “The levels can vary from week to week and that inconsistency is a big problem for me. Until they find a solution, Arsenal are going to struggle to get back into the top four.”

    Credit: Getty – Contributor
  • Josh Graham

    LES MISERABLES

    Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger slammed 'stupid' PSG's 'mental collapse' after Man City turned things around to win the Champions League semi-final first leg 2-1.

  • Josh Graham

    CROWN JUL

    Arsenal are ready to pursue a bargain £17.5million deal to land Borussia Dortmund ace Julian Brandt, according to reports.

    The Gunners are in the market for a creative midfielder this summer with Martin Odegaard heading back to Real Madrid.

    Boss Mikel Arteta has been told by Zinedine Zidane that they will not entertain any offers of extending Odegaard's stay in North London.

    The Norwegian is seen as fundamental to Zidane's plans and wants him to compete in midfield alongside Toni Kroos and Luka Modric.

    Arteta is being forced to look elsewhere and a deal for Brandt fits the bill.

    Bild write how Dortmund are willing to accept just £17.5m for the 24-year-old following a difficult season in the Bundesliga.

    Brandt has been on the edges of the first team with two goals in 16 league starts.

  • Josh Graham

    U N AI GO WELL TOGETHER

    Robert Pires believes Unai Emery gives Villarreal the edge over Arsenal in the Europa League semi-finals.

    That's despite the Gunners sacking him in 2019 in favour of current boss Mikel Arteta. Pires feels Emery's three Europa League crowns with Sevilla from 2013-2016 gives him vital pedigree.

    And French 1998 World Cup winner Pires told AS: "I have been lucky enough to play for two great teams, such as Arsenal and Villarreal.

    "Seeing them now face each other in a semi-final is something special. I see the situation at Arsenal with sadness.

    I speak with Arteta and I see that it has not been an easy year. What can save them is to win this Europa League and thus play the Champions League next year.

    "It is difficult to give a favourite for the semi-final. I would say it is 50-50. It is difficult to get it right. I think Villarreal has an advantage because they have Emery, a coach who has done very well in that competition. 

    "What I like the most is that it is a team that has a clear idea, that they like to play good football. 

    "Everyone knows that if you go to see Villarreal, you are going to see a good team, a team with very good players and that it will surely complicate things for Arsenal."

  • Richard Forrester

    MORNING, ARSENAL FANS

    Gunners fans have been getting excited about Spotify founder Daniel Ek’s potential takeover in North London.

    And the Swede, 38, has reaffirmed his desire to buy his boyhood club.

    He told CNBC yesterday: “I’ve been an Arsenal fan since I was eight-years-old.

    “Arsenal is my team. I love the history, I love the players and of course, I love the fans.

    “So, as I look at that, I see a tremendous opportunity to set a real vision for the club, to bring it back to its glory.

    “I want to establish trust with the fans, and I want to engage the fans again.”

    Ek then added: “I’m very serious, I have secured the funds for it and I want to bring a very compelling offer to the owners and I hope they hear me out.

    “I certainly didn’t expect this will happen overnight and I prepared for this to be a long journey.”

    On the pitch, however, the Gunners have an important game to focus on this evening, as they lock horns with old boss Unai Emery and Villarreal in their Europa League semi-final first-leg.

    Should Arsenal win, they could play in front of a 10,000 crowd in Gdansk, Poland on May 26 – potentially against Manchester United.

  • Etienne Fermie

    ICYMI – BLOOMIN’ EK!

    Prospective Arsenal buyer Daniel Ek has been speaking to CNBC about his potential Gunners takeover.

    The Swede, 38, said: “I’m very serious, I have secured the funds for it and I want to bring a very compelling offer to the owners and I hope they hear me out.

    “I certainly didn’t expect this will happen overnight and I prepared for this to be a long journey.”

    Daniel Ek is 'very serious' about buying Arsenal
  • Etienne Fermie

    ICYMI – EUR KIDDING ME

    Arsenal and Manchester United have been told they will play in front of a 10,000 crowd if they reach next month’s Europa League Final.

    But fans of the two Prem sides are unlikely to be allowed to travel to Poland – with local supporters set to be the only people allowed through the gates.

    Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has announced a series of new measures as the country emerges from the Covid crisis.

    That includes outdoor sports stadiums being able to open their turnstiles to up 25 per cent of capacities from May 15.

    The Europa League Final is scheduled for the Stadion Miejski in Gdansk on May 26.

    It is the home ground of Lechia Gdansk and has an all-seater capacity of 41,620. That will allow potentially 10,405 fans inside for the Final.

  • Etienne Fermie

    MORE FROM MARI

    Arsenal defender Pablo Mari has had his say on Villarreal, ahead of his side’s Europa League semi-final first leg clash with the Spaniards tomorrow night.

    He told the Gunners’ official website: “I have to say that Villarreal is a big club, the owners are doing the right things over the past couple of years.

    “They took a really good decisions for the club, they have a really strong academy and use it a lot for the young players, they are doing really well with this kind of thing and you can see it that they are growing the club.

    “I am really glad because they are doing the right things and you can see that they are playing for a semi-final in the Europa League and that tells you they are doing good things.”


    Pablo Mari is excited for tomorrow night’s clash
  • Etienne Fermie

    VILL YOUR BOOTS

    Tomorrow's Europa League semi-final first leg will be a special occasion for boyhood Villarreal fan Pablo Mari.

    He told Arsenal's official website: "Of course, I grow up in Valencia and supported Villarreal and Valencia.

    "Of course they are the two teams in my city, every time when I was looking they beat Villarreal, I remember a lot of games I watched them and you think, 'I want one time to play for them.'

    "You grow up with that dream. Now I am in the moment where I am going to play against them in a semi-final of the Europa League.

    "I am really glad to be here to fight for Arsenal in that semi-final and I am really happy and it's going to be really special for me against Villarreal."

    Pablo Mari is getting ready for a special occasionCredit: Getty
  • Etienne Fermie

    I WANT CHU

    Genk striker Paul Onuachu revealed signing for Arsenal would be a 'dream'.

    And the 6ft 7in forward's club admitted they may have to sell their star asset this summer.

    Onuachu, 26, has attracted plenty of interest with his red-hot form since arriving in Belgium from Danish side Midtjylland, where he famously scored the winner against Manchester United.

    He admitted he is desperate to catch the eye of his beloved Gunners.

    The 11-cap Nigeria international recently labelled the Emirates as his 'dream destination' and longs to follow in the footsteps of his idols representing the club.

    And in another interview, Onuachu told Sporza: "I really like Arsenal. Emmanuel Adebayor, one of the players I admired most, played there.

    "I really was a fan of him, including Nwankwo Kanu. I really love watching Arsenal too."

    Genk striker Paul Onuachu is hoping his impressive season will catch the eye of Arsenal
  • Etienne Fermie

    RISKY BUSINESS

    Mikel Arteta has revealed whether he will be willing to 'risk' returning stars Kieran Tierney and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang tomorrow night against Villarreal.

    He said: "We do need them, because we know that we have some players that are in contention and they are the ones who can make the difference in a big tie like this.

    "But the word risk, I don't like to put players on the pitch if they can't perform and they can't feel secure that they can perform.

    "If it's a risk or we're going to take a gamble, then I don't think it's the right thing to do."

    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Kieran Tierney are both nearing first-team returnsCredit: AFP
  • Etienne Fermie

    TOP TIER

    Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has given an update on full-back Kieran Tierney, following the news that the Scot is nearing full fitness.

    The Spaniard, 38, said: "He didn't need the surgery that we were afraid of at the beginning and then he's been working like a beast every single day.

    "I don't know if he's going to make it tomorrow [against Villarreal] but he certainly wants to be as close as possible to that football pitch to give himself the best possible chance."

    Kieran Tierney is approaching full fitnessCredit: Getty
  • Etienne Fermie

    TEAM NEWS

    Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has given fans a positive update ahead of tomorrow's clash with Villarreal.

    He said: "They are all in contention. All of them.

    "Including Aubameyang, Laca and Kieran. They are all in contention for the game. Yes [it is good news]."

    Mikel Arteta has given fans a positive fitness updateCredit: Getty

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