Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was bound to have some repercussions in the world of sports and football and somewhat unsurprisingly it has resulted in Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich, putting the club up for sale.
The Russian oligarch, who is believed to have close ties with President Vladimir Putin, has come under increasing pressure following the invasion of Ukraine, resulting in him putting up Chelsea for sale and urging potential buyers to submit their bids by Friday.
As quoted by several media outlets, the 55-year-old is said to be demanding somewhere around £3 billion for the club that he bought in 2003 for £300m.
Furthermore, it is being said that Abramovich is not only planning to sell the London-based team but is looking to decamp the entire UK economy.
Now, the £3 billion price tag may seem extravagant but a few buyers, mostly Americans, have already shown potential interest and here we have a look at some of them.
Net worth: Said to be around £4.72 billion
The co-founder, chairman and CEO of Eldridge Industries, Todd Boehly is no stranger to the Premier League. Back in 2019, the US tycoon expressed interest in buying an English team and was even in talks with Chelsea and Tottenham for a potential takeover.
“Football’s the biggest sport in the world, the passion the fans have for the sport and the teams is unparalleled,” Boehly said in an interview with Bloomberg in 2019.
“So what you are trying to build with these teams, you are really trying to a) win and b) be part of the community.
“One of the great things that the Premier League has is that it’s on Saturday morning in America, so you have an uncongested time slot that is now fully dominated,” he added.
Back then, he made a £2.2billion bid to buy Chelsea, but eventually failed to reach an agreement. However, with the current situation the club finds itself embroiled in, Boehly might get his wish at the second time of asking should he rekindle his desire to buy the west London club.
Boasting a net worth of £4.72billion, Boehly’s company currently owns a stake in Major League Baseball team, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Furthermore, he also made an attempt to acquire a controlling stake in National Women's Soccer League side Washington Spirit but decided to withdraw.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe
Net worth: Rumoured to be around £6 billion
An outspoken Manchester United supporter, Sir Jim Ratcliffe is the founder and owner of Ineos Group Ltd who also happens to be the richest man in the UK. Like Boehly, Ratcliffe’s interest in buying a Premier League team is a long dream.
As quoted by his brother, Bob, the Ineos Group were in talks with Abramovich over a reported sale in 2019, but Sir Jim decided against buying Chelsea as Stamford Bridge ‘required a decade-long amount of work’.
“There was some early exchange [with Chelsea] but we were a significant way apart on valuations,” Bob was quoted saying. “The issue with Chelsea is its stadium. We are all getting older and it is a decade of your life to resolve that.”
As a result, Ratcliffe’s company decided to invest in the Ligue 1 side Nice instead. Apart from that, they also own Swiss Super League side FC Lausanne-Sport. Interestingly, Ineos is also the principal partner of Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes AMG Formula 1 team.
Net worth: Speculated around £4.3 billion
Hansjorg Wyss is an 86-year-old Swiss billionaire businessman who recently said that he along with three other tycoons have been offered a chance to buy Chelsea.
“Like all other oligarchs, he is in a panic,” Wyss, who is worth £4.36bn, told Swiss newspaper Blick.
“Abramovich is trying to sell all his villas in England. He also wants to get rid of Chelsea quickly. I and three other people received an offer on Tuesday to buy Chelsea from Abramovich,” he added.
Wyss, who founded medical device firm Synthes USA, said although he is interested in buying Chelsea, Abramovich’s asking price is well above what everyone is willing to invest at the moment. On top of that, he also admitted that he is not willing to enter the project alone, meaning that he will only consider doing so if he finds ‘six to seven investors’ at his will.
“I have to wait four to five days now. Abramovich is currently asking far too much. You know, Chelsea owe him £2bn.
“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,” he said.
Featured photo: AFP / Ian Kington