Soccer-Fans will be surprised if they get to know Arsenal owners-Arteta

FILE PHOTO: Premier League - Arsenal vs Burnley - Emirates Stadium, London, Britain - May 6, 2018 Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke in the stands with his wife, Ann Walton Kroenke, and non-executive director Josh Kroenke at the end of the match REUTERS/Ian Walton

(Reuters) - Arsenal's under-fire owners Stan and Josh Kroenke are committed to the London club and supporters would be pleasantly surprised if they get the opportunity to know them, manager Mikel Arteta said on Wednesday.

The Kroenkes said on Tuesday that they are not selling any stake and have not received and will not entertain any offers after Swedish billionaire Daniel Ek, the CEO of music streaming service Spotify said he was interested in buying the club.

Arsenal's owners have previously come under fire for a lack of adventure in the transfer market and faced fans' ire again after announcing plans last week to compete in the ill-fated European Super League.

Thousands of protesting fans gathered outside the Emirates Stadium ahead of their defeat by Everton but Arteta said before Thursday's Europa League semi-final first leg against Spain's Villarreal that the owners had set the record straight.

"When they said what they did... and show commitment and desire to take the team where we all want I think it's clear," Arteta told a news conference. "I said from the beginning what my perception was... all the communications I've with them.

"They're fully excited and committed to this project and they really want to push everybody to do what we want to do... If they (fans) get the opportunity to know them, I'm sure they'll be surprised.

"The players need the supporters fully committed behind the team and the moment we have them inside the stadium I'm sure that will be the case."

Arteta said left back Kieran Tierney had avoided surgery for a knee injury sustained in their defeat by Liverpool this month and was nearing a return, although Thursday's clash may have come too soon.

"He's been working like a beast. I don't know if he's going to make it tomorrow but he wants to be as close as possible," Arteta said.

Forwards Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette are also in contention after recent knocks.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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