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Blues up for sale?

Chelsea targeted by three groups in the £2.5bn race to buy the club

In Summary

•Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck recently insisted owner Roman Abramovich was committed to the London club despite stopping attending games

•Abramovich is not believed to have attended any Chelsea games since being denied a visa in May 2018

Roman Abramovich
Roman Abramovich
Image: FILE

Chelsea have held talks with three interested parties over the potential £2.5billion sale of the club.

They are believed to have included the US and Asian-based finance groups, while Britain’s richest man Jim Ratcliffe has also expressed an interest. Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck recently insisted owner Roman Abramovich was committed to the London club despite stopping attending games. However, reports have it that Chelsea officials have held what has been described as ‘exploratory talks’ with the three parties in recent weeks.

Abramovich is not believed to have attended any Chelsea games since being denied a visa in May 2018. The 53-year-old Russian billionaire subsequently sought Israeli citizenship, moving to Tel Aviv.

 

He has spent between £1m and £3m on corporate hospitality boxes at Stamford Bridge every year since 2011 but did not buy any before the start of this season for the first time in almost a decade. Abramovich has continued to pump money into Chelsea, however, and the total debt owed to him by the parent company increased by £75m last year.

It now stands at a total of £1.25bn, money he would want to recoup if the club were sold. Leading football club acquisitions company, Oakwell Capital, said well respected US and Asian-based finance groups have emerged with a renewed interest in Premier League clubs because many have posted healthy profits. Tottenham, Liverpool and Burnley are among clubs to have announced record profits recently. Doug Harmer, director of Oakwell Capital, said:

“There is a renewed interest in Premier League clubs from within the Asian and US investment communities. “While domestic television deals have plateaued, the international TV deals have gone up and are expected to continue to rise in the long term. “Reputable and well-regarded institutions can see the potential for further growth at Premier League clubs.”

Ratcliffe was interested in buying the Stamford Bridge club, but his valuation is vastly below the £2.5bn valuation set by Abramovich. Ratcliffe has reportedly turned his attention to buying French outfit Nice, currently seventh in Ligue 1, and would face considerable competition to complete a deal for the Blues, who travel to title-chasing Liverpool on Sunday, should he return to the negotiating table.