The ownership of Arsenal Football Club has long-been discussed among fans of the Gunners and the football community - is it about to get a change?
Arsenal are currently owned by Stan Kroenke through his Kroenke Sports and Entertainment (KSE) company, who has had a turbulent relationship with the club’s fanbase.
Hopes of a takeover were raised when Spotify chief executive Daniel Ek said he would “be happy to throw my hat into the ring” if KSE were looking for prospective buyers.
But who is Ek - and why does he want to buy Arsenal?
Who is Daniel Ek?
Ek founded music streaming platform Spotify in 2006.
Born in Stockholm, Sweden, on 21 February 1983, Ek studied engineering before dropping out to focus on his projects and burgeoning IT career.
From the age of 13, Ek was making money building websites for clients from his home, recruiting students from his school to help with the increasing workload.
He went on to set up an online advertising company, Advertigo, which was sold to TradeDoubler in 2006, before working at uTorrent prior to its sale to BitTorrent later that same year.
Following the demise of online music services Napster and Kazaa, Ek spotted a gap in the market for a legal music streaming hub… founding Spotify.
Spotify’s popularity has increased steadily since it first came on to the market in 2008, with figures showing a whopping 155 million subscribers in 2020.
Ek was named the most powerful person in the music industry by Billboard in 2017 and is the company’s current chief executive officer.
Away from work, he married longtime partner Sofia Levander in 2016 at Lake Como, with special guests Bruno Mars and Chris Rock performing.
Ek and his wife share two children together.
How much is Daniel Ek worth?
Ek has seen his personal wealth increase alongside the popularity of Spotify.
In 2016, 10 years after forming Spotify with Martin Lorentzon, the streaming service was valued at $8 billion (£5.75b), with Ek owning just over 10% of the overall shares.
This doubled the following year, with Spotify now said to be valued at around $58b (£41.71b).
Ek’s net worth stands at $4.7b (£3.4b).
It means the Swedish billionaire has the financial clout to follow through on any claims he wants to buy Arsenal Football Club from Stan Kroenke and KSE.
Why does Daniel Ek want to buy Arsenal?
Ek is a self-confessed Arsenal fan.
In a Twitter post made on 23 April, Ek said: “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 into the ring.”
He would have watched Arsenal challenge for cups and Premier League trophies under Arsene Wenger’s great Gunners teams of the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Three of those Invincibles, Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Viera, are helping Ek prepare a bid for the club they once served as players.
Such a move can only help his chances of winning over a frustrated fanbase, building trust and establishing credibility for a takeover attempt.
What has the response been to Daniel Ek’s interest in Arsenal?
Ex-England international and Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker is not convinced Ek would do a better job than Kroenke in running Arsenal.
In reference to claims Ek watches every Arsenal game, a fan posted on Twitter: “This is the kind of guy we want running our club.”
But Lineker replied: “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.”
Following a backlash from some Arsenal fans, the ex-Tottenham striker defended his stance.
“You’re proving the point by already looking for any positive,” Lineker said. “I’m sure all these owners want the team to do well. This one [Ek] 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.”
What has Daniel Ek, Stan Kroenke and Mikel Arteta said about Arsenal ownership?
Ek underlined his intentions to launch a takeover of Arsenal in an interview with CNBC, in which he said he was "very serious" and that he hopes the Kroenkes "hear me out".
"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," said Ek. "I certainly didn't expect this will happen overnight and I am prepared for this to be a long journey."
The Arsenal ownership of Stan and Josh Kroenke have said they "are not selling any stake" of the club and reaffirmed their position at the Emirates Stadium helm.
"Our ambition for Arsenal remains to compete to win the biggest trophies in the game and our focus remains on improving our competitiveness on the pitch to achieve this," they said.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta backed the current owners to achieve success.
"I cannot control the speculation and what is going on," said Arteta. "What I like to know and talk about is the reality, and the reality is that we have owners who are really, really committed and want a successful team on the pitch and are going to do everything they can to achieve that."