Daniel Ek and the Arsenal Avengers

by .

Daniel Ek, founder of Spotify, is whipping up a PR frenzy in the media. He wants to buy Arsenal and he’s going in with Bergkamp, Thierry, and Vieira.

The fee they are talking about is £1.8b.

That’s where the story ends for me.

Some reasons it won’t work.

KSE Philosophy

KSE don’t sell. Never have done. They have gone on the record 500 times to say that is their business philosophy. There’s no reason to doubt their stubborn desire to be good at this one thing.

If Stan and his family can ride the pressure of screwing over their hometown by moving a franchise to LA, do you really think pressure in Europe will register?

Daniel Ek Wealth

Now, you always have to take Forbes numbers with a pinch of salt, Donald Trump faked his value for years. But Daniel Ek is worth about $4.7b and Stan is worth nearly double. Factor in Stan’s marriage into the Walton family and you start to see the difference.

Stan doesn’t need the money. He doesn’t want the money. If he was flat out broke, he has the ability to find whatever he needs with a couple of phone calls.

Billionaires are dick swingers. Stan selling out to someone he perceives to be of smaller wealth, in a country as hierarchical as America, feels like a stretch.

Put it this way, if Stan wouldn’t sell to Alisher Usmanov because he was Russian affiliated, do you think he’ll be selling to a European tech guy?

The Number

Myself and a few other bloggers were approached by a group repping a Qatari Family in 2017 about a huge bid they were preparing. £2b was the number. I don’t think they ever formally bid for the club because Stan blew out Usmanov who also wanted to expand his holding.

If Arsenal were for sale, Daniel Ek would not get near it for £1.8b. I am not in the football club market, but a London club, with the lowest debt in Super League 12, elite training facilities, classy brand, in a prime spot in London… well, you’d be looking at £3.5b plus to even get near what Arsenal would be worth to an owner that doesn’t want to sell.

Football isn’t a rational business. We would be an ego purchase. That would mean a mega premium. Buying Arsenal is not for business people, it’s for people with too much money to spend who want a hobby, to whitewash a shocking reputation, or to sell plane tickets to their desert paradise tourist spots.

I would absolutely LOVE Daniel Ek to buy Arsenal and save us from hell, but honestly, I think there’s a higher chance we sign Lio Messi this summer. We’re stuck with KSE forever and it’s painful to know that.

Business or pleasure?

Final thing. We have been run by sustainability merchants for 15 years. It has gotten us nowhere. We are in the top 10 net spenders in Europe. It has taken us to 10th.

Daniel Ek brings data smarts to the table you couldn’t imagine. He’s a branding genius. He’s a commercial powerhouse. But he’d still have to bring Arsenal back to life the hard way. He’s not going to pump a billion into a club that can’t repay him.

Petro-dollars is the only way you get to the level of investment we need right now. If you’re getting into bed with a consortium, that means three things:

  1. Shared leadership of the project. Lots of cooks.
  2. There’s not a lot of spare cash swilling around
  3. A return will be desired

It’s also slightly different to Liverpool. They have a sports club buying engine called RedBall. It’s a monster filled with sporting experts like Billy Beane and Lebron James. Arsenal need more than big names on the board to get back to the top, especially on a budget.

But let’s see how serious his plan is. Let’s read the documents. Just promise me one thing? Don’t get too excited. The chances of this being anything more than good PR are very, very slim.

Moving on…

Flo Balogun has signed a new deal with Arsenal. A superb bit of good news and full credit to Edu and Arteta for making that happen. Arsenal is a project in flux, one of the reasons we’re in such a mess is the lack of smarts around contracts with young players. Some of the hottest names in Europe left us for little to nothing. Keeping Flo in the family for the foreseeable stems the flow of bad news on that front.

The player has it all to be the striker Arteta needs. I think he’s an imposing number 9 that makes clever runs, he’s strong, he’s fast, he truly believes he belongs at the level, and he’s deadly in front of goal.

Our frontline, if it develops at the rate it is currently, really could be something special in the next three seasons. What is very interesting is the player sees himself making an impact at Arsenal NOW.

‘My ambitions for next season are to make an impact in the first team. I see it as something that I’ve taken upon myself to be able to go over there & make an impact, not just be one of the numbers’

That means players are leaving. No more Lacazette. No more Eddie. If that’s the case, we really should be making sure our Thursday night line-up is reflective of where we’re going, not where we’ve been.

Now we have to move and make sure Kido Taylor Hart and ESR are tied down.

Wherever this season takes us, it is promising that we have one of the most exciting groups of players coming through in the league.

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195 Responses to “Daniel Ek and the Arsenal Avengers”

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  1. Guns of SF

    In regard to Reiss. No one talks much about him being in the real dog house. I mean, its like he dropped off the earth. As much as we talk about Martin and balogun, Reiss has literally dissapeared.

    HE will be pining to move this summer. I do not blame him. Our youngsters need to play, and if not with us, then elsewhere for their own personal sake and careers.

    I liked Reiss and also feel he has not been given a run in the team. oh well, ask the special sauce about that….

    I would still go back for Buendia and ESR with TP in the middle. Saka and Martin as the wings for now… Striker is Laca if he stays. Need to sell Auba.

    If not we got to make a run at Edouard, and Balogun can deputize

  2. Guns of SF

    I think Ode will go back to Madrid. This ESL disaster has them with egg on their face. I think Dani is off too. He wants Betis, his true love.

    I would also add Bissouma to our list… somehow.. ..with him being the main DM.
    TP and ESR in front of him….

  3. bacaryisgod


    I’m not falling into the Azeez trap. It’s the same one I fell through with Zelalem, Vela and Merida. I’m not sure people realize how lucky we got with Saka and ESR. This is not normal for players this good to come through our youth set-up.

    Azeez is a talented player and by all means we need to keep him in the fold. But like ESR did at Huddersfield, we need to see how Azeez performs against tougher competition.

  4. Aussie+Gooner

    The Krankies won’t sell to Spotify, Nigerian Cement King, Flamini or anyone else. As Pedro points out – they don’t have to. The Krankies true wealth is undervalued for tax reasons. Flamini has stated that he has no interest in buying the club and he insists that his wealth is over valued. Most of it is shared with his partner or invested in plant and machinery. In other words he does not have the spare cash floating about – unfortunately!

  5. Aussie+Gooner


    This is the point – very few of the young talent have been tested at the top level. Arteta has had ample opportunity to try them out but has declined, only using youth when he has to. A decent coach would seek to integrate the young players into the first team squad or loan them out in order to sort the wheat from the chaff.

  6. Danny S

    I read something that Flamini is only worth about 20m.

    The market he wants to attack it invest in or whatever you call it is ‘worth’ 30bn.

    He said it’s a bit like attributing 1 restaurant in France with every restaurants worth.

  7. Pierre

    Superb news on Balogun signing a new contract.

    Not long now until we see a forward line that could consist of Martinelli, Smith rowe, Saka, Balogun and Nketiah and Nelson…

    Go all out to Sign Bissouma to partner Partey, bring back Guendouzi , willock and AMN ,promote a couple of academy midfielders , get a decent keeper in, bring in Saliba and we will have a team of youth , energy , hunger and intensity.

    And it won’t cost us a penny with a few of sales.

    Keep Aubamayang…

  8. The Bard

    I think we need to be careful with the so called project youth. Very few young players make the step up on a permanent basis. The casualty rate is extremely high.

  9. NORG


    If we are quick we could steal Martinez from Villa right under the noses of Man U. £40millon should do it.

  10. Habesha Gooner

    I agree on Reiss. He hasn’t had even a run of 5 consecutive games for us. He has had good performances and average performances too. We just need to know for sure whether he will be very good or a mid table player. For example I know now what Eddie Nketiah can do. He is a poacher with a high work rate. He might develop other qualities in the future but we have had enough sample size to know what he will be like. And at some point you have to sell your academy players that aren’t at the top of your list. I feel like there isn’t enough data on Reiss to discard him so quickly.

    I really like Buendia. But I don’t think we are getting both Odegaard and him. It is one or the other. I wouldn’t mind either to be honest. If we can’t get both, I really like Matheus Pereira of westbrom too. A very silky player that is creative enough. We would have him for at most at 20 mil. A very good alternative to both in my opinion.

    I know the likes of Zelalem failed but we had better midfielders then and we knew they wouldn’t get a sniff. Now we have Elneny, Xhaka and Ceballos stinking out the place for over
    2 to 3 seasons now. Risking it in Azeez is better than rewatching an old movie. We know what we will get. Either we get 2 CMs or we give a player from the academy a chance. And slowly introduce him in like we did Saka.

  11. Guns of Brixton

    The way Bayern pimp their league out is insane.

    Everything that was deemed wrong with the ESL is being committed by Bayern in the German league.

    Repeated purchases of their closest rivals talents to keep them on top and their opponents on the bottom. Once or twice is acceptable but this is has to be an actual business plan of theirs. Happens to often not to be. Gotze, lewandowski, etc etc

    Now they ‘ve gone one step further and nabbed their closest rivals manager!!!

  12. Valentin

    I am not so sure that Nagelmann will enjoy working for Hollywood FC. At RB Leipzig, he had a team around him. He won’t have that at Bayern.

    Externally, he will have constant sniping from former players and the media will not give him time. Internally he will not have as much power/influence. The players such as Boatang, Alaba, Kimmich, Goretzka have a high opinion of themselves and may not be as receptive to his method than younger players.

  13. Guns of Brixton


    I agree. Insane to think Nagelmann is only 33.

    Better Bayern than Spurs tho. Had he went to spurs after poch with a peaking Kane their fortunes may have been a lot better than it is now. But thank god it isn’t 😂

  14. Foxy

    based on Pereira’s performance at the weekend he would look a good prem ready upgrade on Dani and seems to be able to play from deep as well as in the No10 role. Then just a Xhaka upgrade, back up LB and a GK to replace Leno

  15. Nelson

    I have spent 7 years in Germany. They are proud to have Bayern doing well in the CL. Internally, they only support their home team even if they are playing in the 2nd or 3rd division. .

  16. Valentin

    Gun of Brixton,

    I hope that by Christmas Nagelmann realise that he made a terrible mistake and join us in replacement of Arteta, while the Kroenke finally sack the good talker.

  17. Valentin

    Adidas is really propping up Bayern with incredibly advantageous deals. Bayern commercial strength allows them to ruthlessly crush any attempt to challenge their dominance.

    You have better players, we’ll buy them off you. If you don’t want to sell, we let know the player that a deal will be available when his contract expired. See how they got their No2 goalkeeper after falsely promising that he would replace Manuel Neuer.

    Now it is, you have a better manager, we’ll buy off you as well. Good luck watching crumbling what you spend the last decades building with that key man.

    They are the ultimate smart bully. Would rather stay the biggest fish in a medium pond than grow the pond. If they had a few solid, credible rivals rather than hopeful rivals, the Bundesliga would have a much higher brand. The football is good. The fans create a great atmosphere. The production value of the Bundesliga TV show is great.

  18. Foxy

    watching some lower level games recently like the Berlin local derby the standard seems pretty poor i.e, below prem level

  19. Sid

    You are supposed to be on your best behaviour during this Holy month Mr,
    i understand it must be hard since coitus is forbiden that makes a man cranky,

  20. Mb

    Thierry Henry was converted from a winger into a striker by Arsène Wenger upon arriving at the club from Juventus.
    The King failed to score in his first 7 appearances for Arsenal, and was ready to tell the boss that he wanted to go back on the wing, but he knew that Wenger believed in him, and that was enough to end his first season with 26 goals as a striker in red & white, and end his career at the club with 228 goals..

    Just imagine if it was Arteta!

  21. Leedsgunner

    Nagaelsmann is the new Pep.

    Nagaelsmann, like Pep, will be two or three years there before Man City come calling for him.

  22. AFC Forever

    All this talk of the German ownership model yet as Valentin says, they have won 8 consecutive league titles. The league is a joke. When Dortmund briefly broke into that dominance, Bayern simply asset stripped them and Lewandowski is showing how influential he has been. The Germans do most things right but have a sad history of also doing a lot of things very badly, Here is the first example of a state financially doping a football club, not exactly the same as the Arab Oil States of Abu Dhabi and Qatar but nonetheless a potential warning:-

    1978: Communist East Germany
    Between 1978 to 1988 German football was dominated by an East German team called BFC Dynamo. They are in the 4th tier today. The club was created in 1966 by the communist East German state to become an “elite club to become the flagship of East German football”. It was intended that through football domination the players would become ‘socialist heroes’ boosting East German self-confidence and international prestige. BFC had an influential sponsor, the feared Stasi (state police). They had access to the best training facilities, equipment, coaching staff, and the best talent across the whole of East Germany. If BFC wanted a player, they weren’t allowed to turn the offer down or there would be a heavy price to pay – it was possible you or your family would disappear. They created a sports system with centers of excellence and a delegation system where the best prospects went to the best clubs. In essence, this created a tiered system because the top tier of elite clubs had unrivaled access to talents and structured programs for their development in special training centers and sports schools. However, BFC Dynamo had an even greater advantage because they would be able to draw on talents from all parts of East Germany and players could not turn them down, not because they paid more but because you don’t say no to the Stasi, unless you have a particular penchant for having your testicles used for cricket net practice.

    BFC won 10 consecutive League Titles between the 1970’s and 1980’s. As they were an East German club, the players of BFC Dynamo had political training and were held under a strict discipline, as is usual under communist rule. They had to be politically reliable, following an obedient lifestyle. Players were not permitted to have contact with anyone in the West. The players were under surveillance by the Stasi. All the Players had their telephones tapped, their rooms at the training camp too and players were always accompanied by personnel from the Stasi during international trips. The MoI (Ministry of Interior) had their employees integrated within the club with many players recruited as informants. In the 1983-84 European Cup, two players defected to West Germany.

    BFC Dynamo was so dominant they went on an unbeaten run of 36 league matches between 1982–1984, which included the entire 1982-83 season. It was 18 months between defeats.

    Of course, everyone knew BFC Dynamo had the best facilities in the league and open access to all the best players because of their sponsorship by the East German Communist Government but it was worse than that. There had been a large number of controversial refereeing decisions and it was widely accepted that the dominance of BFC Dynamo was not solely due to their performance on the field of play. The communists hated the West and they would do anything to show their ‘dominance’, so it was a win at any cost mentality and the payment of bribes or the threat of violence were commonplace in East German communist politics.

    This story is interesting because it shows you how football can be so easily be corrupted by money. It’s a good example of why we have to have a more ‘honest’ financial rebalancing, because we must not eliminate fair competition or, most importantly, fair play.

    Looking at the CL semi-finalists makes horrific reading and should be a warning to everyone. You can complain about the terrible Super League proposal but don’t let that blindside you from the fact the game has already been taken away from the fans. Unchecked, Man City have the capacity to completely dominate, like BFC Dynamo, because they are imposters, an Oil State using the Manchester name, just like PSG.

    BFC may be an extreme example of financial doping but we have to be very careful about the state sponsorship of our teams.

  23. Leedsgunner

    AFC Forever @1346

    Can I say that was one of the most interesting football related comments that I’ve ever read on here. Fascinating! Thank you!

  24. Useroz

    With. Bayern, just look at who’s on their board and compare that with ours. Owners aside , that’s practically where the spine begin.

    And we have Vinai, and Edu and Arteta say it all. Don’t worry though, we’d be fine in the next decade cos they are all generational talent and aim to deliver for the next generations, just not us.

  25. Leedsgunner

    Flo Balogun signed his Arsenal contract… that everything is dire at the Emirates. Whoever decides to come after Arsenal is going to have one heck of a group of young players to nurture and develop…

    One person I would bring back to the club is Kwame Ampadu, he has been instrumental in nurturing these talents… including Nketiah, AMN, Willock, ESR, Saka, now Balogun.

    The man is a magician… and his record speaks for itself.

  26. S Asoa

    Part of statement by Balogun on his signing a new contract. One can see nuances of politics in the Club. But as per AFC system, Arteta, so long he is here as Manager is the winner politico.

    Kwame Ampadu, when I first came here at [under] 18s, he showed me tough love. But it was definitely something I needed at the time. Even now, Steve Bould he’s managed me really well this season, making sure that I took more of a leadership role, which is something I need to learn as well. ‘My ambitions for next season are to make an impact in the first team. I see it as something that I’ve taken upon myself to be able to go over there and make an impact, not just be one of the numbers. ‘I want to be somebody who eventually leads that group, so I would say I have quite driven ambitions. We’ll see if I can make them happen.’

    Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2021/04/26/folarin-balogun-explains-decision-to-sign-new-arsenal-deal-as-contract-saga-ends-14475147/?ito=cbshare
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/MetroUK | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK/

  27. Chris

    AFC forever

    Thank your for the post about East German football, a great read. Have you been a journalist in the past?

    Regarding Bayern, I was in Munich a couple of years ago and took in the stadium tour (fabulous stadium) and they are completely unapologetic about who they are and what they do. Very proud club and yes, very well run even at the expense of others. ‘Mia San Mia’ was everywhere, we are who we are.

    Despite their repeated canings of us, they have always been my favourite German team since I was young, the aura about them and the fc Hollywood stuff, and Steffen Effenberg.

  28. Kroenkephobe


    I greatly enjoy reading about cold war history and having formerly worked in a government department that regularly sent me overseas, I had some experience of it myself. I was in the horn of Africa while the Americans and Soviets were fighting a proxy war over the horn of Africa. Ethiopia was as hardcore stalinist as their Eastern European counterparts at the time. That it was being played out in one of the poorest and hottest parts of the world made it all the more surreal. I’d love to hear more about stuff like this if you have time and I’d be grateful if you could share your sources (not sauces). Football in Ethiopia was tedious and of a poor standard. Army versus Worker’s Coffee Cooperative sort of thing. I played a lot there too and the altitude made it especially tough.

    I tend to bristle when people ascribe the term ‘communist’ to those types of regimes. In essence they were state capitalist kleptocracies where a small cabal of corrupt hoodlums ran industries for their own profits and treated workers like shit. That wasn’t what Marx foresaw in Das Kapital.

    Great read AFCF. East Germany was a fascinating place. Deutschland 83 and ‘the same sky/sun’ are terrific programmes as is the film ‘lives of others’.

  29. Words on a blog


    Didn’t realise you were a Somali Warlord in a previous life…..no wonder you’ve sought the relative anonymity of life in rural West Wales!

  30. Andy pinker

    Let’s sign Odergaard, , then sell lacasette and Auba, buy a young good CF, Pepe is getting better, nail down Saka to 1 or 2 positions, get a back up for the jock, Buy an equal RB , young ect, fuck off cedric………..keep all the CB’s for now, and see who ends up best……….Danny onions I’d give him back…………gutted we got rid of Emmi martinez……….think that’s about it……….oh, and a young PV or EP for in front of the best CB with the biggest mouth…………think that’s it……..Miami.