African mogul eyes Arsenal

A takeover battle at Arsenal could be on the cards after it emerged that a Nigerian billionaire industrialist is considering acquiring a 16 per cent stake in the Premier League football club.

Aliko Dangote, one of Africa's richest men, is said to be in talks to buy the shareholding put up for sale by Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith, the London club's fourth largest shareholder. Her shareholding is currently worth £96m, but she reportedly wants £160m for the shares.

Arsenal's two biggest investors, Stan Kroenke, the American sports tycoon, and Alisher Usmanov, the Russian oligarch, are also mulling buying the shares.

Such a move by either man would force them to launch a full takeover offer for the club.

Arsenal is one of several Premier League clubs, including up-for-sale Liverpool, that could find themselves with new owners when the new season begins in August.