Premier League • England

British billionaire’s name crops up as Roman Abramovich looks to sell Chelsea

Roman Abramovich Chelsea owner October 2021

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is understood to be frantically looking for a buyer for the club and one potential bidder is reportedly Monaco-based British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

Russian-Israeli billionaire Abramovich is understood to want to retain his ownership of Chelsea after taking over in 2003. But that could effectively prove close to impossible should the UK Government impose sanctions on the 55-year-old.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led the UK into sanctions aimed at encouraging Russia to cease actions destabilising their neighbour.

Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss has claimed he has been offered the chance to buy Chelsea.

The 86-year-old has admitted interest in purchasing the Stamford Bridge club from Abramovich, but only as part of a consortium.

“Abramovich is trying to sell all his villas in England, he also wants to get rid of Chelsea quickly,” Wyss told Swiss newspaper Blick.

“I and three other people received an offer on Tuesday to buy Chelsea from Abramovich.

“I have to wait four to five days now. Abramovich is currently asking far too much.

Ratcliffe interested in Chelsea previously

“You know, Chelsea owe him £2 billion. But Chelsea has no money.

“As of today, we don’t know the exact selling price.”

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Whether or not Ratcliffe is one of the other suitors remains to be seen. But the 69-year-old’s previous interest in Chelsea makes it more than likely that he has been contacted again.

And 90min understands that Ratcliffe, who has often been hailed as ‘Britain’s richest man’ is “considering” a bid.

The Daily Mail reported in 2018 that Ratcliffe, the founder, chairman and majority owner of chemicals firm Ineos, had offered £2bn to buy the west London club.

Ratcliffe also cooled talk he was planning a takeover of the west London club in 2020.

“We are very comfortable with where we are with Nice actually,” he said.

“It’s going quite well, it’s been quite interesting, we are still learning and it is quite a challenging league in France with some very talented players.”

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Abramovich asking price

Ratcliffe, whose fortune, according to Forbes is around £12.46bn currently owns two European football clubs.

He bought Ligue 1 club Nice in 2019 and purchased Swiss Super League side FC Lausanne-Sport in 2017.

Whether Ratcliffe could be persuaded to step in alone and buy Chelsea now is unclear. But he will surely not be presented with a better chance of getting his hands on the club at a competitive rate.

The Telegraph write that Abramovich is looking to sell the club for around £4bn. Meanwhile, the Daily Mail say the Russian will demand a minimum of £3bn.

Last week Labour MP Chris Bryant revealed that a leaked Home Office document from 2019 named Abramovich as a person of interest to the government amid reports of his links to Vladimir Putin – which he denies.

But what is evident is that Abramovich does not have time on his side with the UK Government closing in on freezing his assets.

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