AMERICANS LEAD THE WAY IN BATTLE FOR CHELSEA

Owners of US major league teams LA Dodgers and Chicago Cubs are among 10 consortia reportedly vying to buy Chelsea FC from Roman Abramovich.

The tycoon announced last week that he would sell the Premier League club he has owned since 2003 following sanctions imposed on Russia and Russian nationals since the invasion of Ukraine last month. Abramovich is believed to have set an asking price of up to £4billion for the club, which made £416m in revenue and recorded a £145m loss after tax for the club. year until June 30, 2021.

Sky Sports have reported that up to 10 parties are considering making offers for Chelsea. Among the main suitors is Todd Boehly, a major shareholder in Major League Baseball (MLB) team LA Dodgers, who has partnered with Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss. Boehly tried to buy Chelsea in a £2.2bn deal three years ago, and reports suggest a new £2.5bn offer has already been tabled.

The Ricketts family, owners of the Chicago Cubs MLB team since 2009, would also be in the running. They already made a bid for Italian Serie A side AC Milan in 2018.

US private equity firm RedBird Capital Partners, which has an 11% stake in Liverpool FC owners Fenway Sports Group, has also been linked.

Other candidates include Turkish tycoon Muhsin Bayrak, who told Sky Sports News he has already submitted a bid, and property developer Nick Candy. Michael Rubin, executive chairman of sporting goods group Fanatics, is also considering an offer according to ESPN.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, founder and CEO of Ineos, has reportedly considered buying Chelsea before, although his spokesman has ruled him out on a move this time. Egyptian businessman Loutfy Mansour, although a season ticket holder at Chelsea, is unlikely to bid at this stage.

MMA fighter Conor McGregor claimed on social media on Friday that he was offering the club £1.5billion.

A deadline of March 15 has reportedly been set for potential buyers to register their interest with investment bank The Raine Group, which is acting as agent for the deal. Abramovich will stipulate that any suitor must guarantee that he will continue his policy of investing in the club’s players, stadium and facilities.

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