Mikel Arteta: Arsenal owners would do anything to improve fan relationship

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Mark Mann-Bryans, PA
·4-min read
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Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal’s owners will do “anything it takes” to improve their relationship with supporters after insisting they do not intend to sell up.

Spotify founder Daniel Ek last week said he would be interested in purchasing the Premier League club, which is owned by Stan Kroenke through his Kroenke Sports and Entertainment (KSE) business.

But any potential deal looks to have been scuppered following a staunch response from the Gunners’ American owners, who say they have not received any bids.

“In recent days we have noted media speculation regarding a potential takeover bid for Arsenal Football Club,” read a KSE statement on Tuesday.

“We remain 100 per cent committed to Arsenal *and are not selling* any stake in the club.”

Supporters protested against Kroenke outside the Emirates Stadium on Friday as Arsenal’s involvement in the failed European Super League further widened the divide between owners and fans.

Often dubbed “Silent Stan” for his perceived lack of interaction, Arteta defended Kroenke and his son Josh – who made a rare appearance at a fan forum last week.

“I don’t know if that will be the case,” Arteta replied when asked about Kroenke speaking publicly.

“If we all feel that is necessary and would be helpful, I’m sure they would do anything it takes to bring the fans closer to them.

“If they (the fans) get the opportunity to know them, I think most of them would be surprised. And if that is the case, I think that will benefit everybody at the football club.

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“It will benefit the fans and bring a lot of clarity. If there is a way to do that and it is going to be helpful, let’s do it, if that is what is necessary.”

Arteta refused to use the Super League debacle or fan protest as an excuse for a poor performance in Friday’s defeat to Everton – but admits he hopes KSE’s statement will end takeover talk.

“It closes a lot of the speculation regarding what could happen because they moved straight away and made very clear lines of their understanding and what they want to do with the football club,” he said.

Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke, left, has come under fierce criticism
Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke, left, has come under fierce criticism (Nick Potts/PA)

“We spoke to them (KSE) and I think it was very clear. They have shown their commitment and ambition to the football club because we all want a successful team on the pitch. It was very clear and took any doubt out of the situation.

“A lot of talks and a lot of speculation has been surrounding the situation in the last week or so, our fans raised their voices during the match against Everton.

“But now we have a very clear and very committed statement from the ownership, and I think that it (the speculation) is gone when they said what they did last night.

“They showed the commitment and the desire to take the team where we all want. I think it is very clear where we are moving forward.”

Arteta will come up against his predecessor Unai Emery in the Europa League semi-finals.
Arteta will come up against his predecessor Unai Emery in the Europa League semi-finals (Adam Davy/PA)

Arteta was speaking ahead of Thursday’s Europa League semi-final first-leg clash with Villarreal and now wants to see supporters unite behind the team.

“They have the freedom and the possibility to express themselves,” he said.

“If you ask me as a manager what I want towards the team, obviously I want stability around all sectors at the club.

“The players need the supporters fully committed behind the team and the moment we have them inside our stadium, I am sure that will be the case.”

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Pablo Mari was in the starting line-up as Friday’s protests continued after kick-off but the Spaniard insists there was no distraction for the team.

“No of course not,” the defender said.

“It was really good to hear the fans, I think they have to say something when they have the power to do it so I am really happy to see the fans really care about Arsenal – it is really important and they have to show their opinion.”