For the first time, Dennis Bergkamp has spoken publicly about his involvement with Daniel Ek and the Spotify co-founder’s attempts to buy the club from KSE.
The 52 year old has backed the Swede, revealing Zoom conversations which made a positive impression, and insisted that for Arsenal to compete at the highest level again it needs to be run first and foremost as a football club, and not a business.
Last week Ek revealed he’d been rebuffed by Stan and Josh Kroenke, but according to the former Invincible, further efforts have been made.
“I understand that in addition to that offer, Daniel has now reached out twice to Josh Kroenke and his bankers,” said Bergkamp, who is part of the consortium along with Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira.
“Whatever Kroenke’s intentions are, it would be good if we at least have a conversation with each other in the interest of the club.
“Regardless, Daniel is not a quitter and neither are we football boys. We are here to stay.
“We do know how the fans feel. We have already had a meeting with a supporter delegation. We also sense more and more enthusiasm on their side. That is very stimulating.”
On what kind of change they might bring to Arsenal if a takeover were successful, he continued, “I am not looking for a revolution. We really hope that we can talk to the current owners in a good way. We don’t want to harm anyone, it’s not about us personally.
This revolves around our views on an improved Arsenal. As players, we contributed to the transition from Boring Arsenal to a squad called The Invincibles. Thanks to that period, I have now been inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame, which I am extremely proud of.
“The quality, mindset and passion of that time must once again become the norm. Thierry, Patrick and I have ideas about that.
“Which fit perfectly with Daniel’s plans.”
There was implied criticism of the current ownership though, as Bergkamp sees a change at the top as fundamental to any kind of restoration of Arsenal’s stature.
“An acquisition is crucial,” he said. So that Arsenal can continue with an owner who understands that a football club should not be run like a company.
“No matter how much money is involved in English football, Arsenal is and will remain a football club. Which is how it must be managed at all levels of the club.”
As for what kind of roles he, Henry and Vieira might have, there was some reluctance to go into specifics.
“We have plenty of ideas about the technical details, but it makes little sense to talk about them now,” he said.
“First, Daniel has to come to a takeover. After that, it would make sense to use the knowledge we have gained during and after our careers.
“We are ready and so is Daniel.”
Read the full interview here (its in Dutch, so use Google Translate).