Roman Abramovich has officially confirmed his intention to sell Chelsea Football Club.
The Russian billionaire, who bought the Blues for £140million in 2003, has been in hot water following Russia ‘s invasion of Ukraine which brought his relationship with Vladimir Putin into the spotlight.
Abramovich first announced on Saturday that “stewardship” of the club would be handed over to six trustees of Chelsea’s Charitable Foundation, but the botched attempt has prompted him to put his Stamford Bridge empire up for sale.
Abramovich has hired a brokers from the United States to find a buyer for the Blues – and there will be no shortage of takers for a £3.5billion deal.
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The Chelsea owner insists that any net proceeds will go to charities for war victims in Ukraine and he is not looking for the outstanding £1.5bn debt from the club to be repaid.
Emerging as an early frontrunner, 86-year-old Wyss confirmed well before Abramovich’s announcement that he had been offered the chance to invest in the club along with three other unnamed parties.
But in an interview with Blick, the Swiss – said to be worth £4.3billion after founding American medical device business Synthes – claimed that Abramovich will have to lower his demands in order for any deal to take place.
“I have to wait four to five days now. Abramovich is currently asking far too much,” Wyss explained. “You know, Chelsea owe him £2billion [it is £1.5billion]. But Chelsea has no money. That means: those who buy Chelsea should compensate Abramovich.
“As of today, we don’t know the exact selling price. I can well imagine starting at Chelsea with partners. But I have to examine the general conditions first. But what I can already say: I’m definitely not doing something like this alone.
“If I buy Chelsea, then with a consortium consisting of six to seven investors.”
Sir Jim Ratcliffe
Known to have held season ticket at Stamford Bridge despite supporting Manchester United, Ratcliffe owns French club Nice and speculation over a bid to buy the Blues first arose in 2019.
Boasting an estimated net worth of £20billion thanks to his multi-national chemicals company Ineos, the 69-year-old revealed that talks between himself and Chelsea took place but there was one major obstacle.
“There was some early exchange but we were a significant way apart on valuations,” Ratcliffe, who hails from Lancashire, told BBC Five Live. “The issue with Chelsea is its stadium. We are all getting older and it is a decade of your life to resolve that.”
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While the Nice owner has previously distanced himself from talk of taking over United, links to Newcastle and Leeds highlight that Ratcliffe’s Premier League ambitions.
After trying to buy Chelsea in 2019, US tycoon Boehly could now be back in pole position.
The American billionaire is a huge sports fan and reportedly had two bids turned down in 2019.
Boehly is the co-founder, chairman and CEO of Eldridge Industries and boasts a net worth of £4.72billion.
Eldridge is a holding company with offices in London, New York and Boston, and have a history of investment in industries such as sport, media, technology and real estate.
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Boehly already owns a stake in Major League Baseball franchise the Los Angeles Dodgers as well as basketball giants the LA Lakers.
He appears to have the funds necessary for a swoop this time around and the fact US brokers have been hired suggests that Boehly could be the favourite.
Certainly the most outlandish contender on paper, McGregor sensationally put his hat in the ring hours before Abramovich’s announcement.
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The UFC star tweeted: “I wish to explore this, Chelsea” in response to a screenshot of a WhatsApp message from an unknown contact which read: “Chelsea for sale, £3bn. Let’s buy it”.
United fan McGregor, who is worth around £135million, has previously shown an interest in buying his beloved club, saying on social media last year: “Hey guys, I’m thinking about buying Manchester United! What do you think?”