There has been an update in the potential sale of Premier League titans Chelsea, with two American bids leading the way in the race to replace Roman Abramovich as owner.
The Lowdown: Ownership Race Hotting Up
Following the sanctions placed on the Russian Oligarch earlier this month, the onus has been on finding a potential new owner as quickly as possible, in order to alleviate any long-term issues that the current restrictions could have on the club as a whole.
At present, the west London outfit are unable to sign or sell players, while they are also unable to offer new contracts to their current stars, with the likes of Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta all facing uncertain futures with their existing deals set to expire in just a few months time.
While a swift sale would not be an instant fix to their current economic woes – amid reports that the club may still have to sell a number of players this summer to generate funds even if a new owner is found – it would at least bring to an end this current uncertainty, hence the desire for a prospective investor to be found.
The Latest: American Rivals
As per the Financial Times (via Forbes), the current ownership battle is being led by two rivalling American bids, with UK businessman Nick Candy having dropped out of the running despite going public with his desire to buy the club in recent weeks.
With a potential Saudi-backed consortium also not in contention, the leading figures in the battle to replace Abramovich are now US billionaire Todd Boehly – part-owner of the Los Angeles Lakers and Dodgers – alongside Swiss businessman Hansjorg Wyss, while a separate bid has been placed by fellow American billionaire Josh Harris and his partner David Blitzer – the two men currently part-owners of NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and NHL’s New Jersey Devils.
That second offer is, however, complicated by the fact that Harris and Blitzer have a current stake (18%) in Crystal Palace, meaning they would have to relinquish that position were they to be successful in their bid to take control at Stamford Bridge.
There has seemingly been no shortage of interest in a new takeover, with the report suggesting that as many as 200 enquiries were made by prospective investors when Abramovich – who bought the club for a fee in the region of £140m back in 2003 – initially put the club up for sale at the start of March prior to being place under sanction, having stepped down from his role at the club a few days earlier.
The Verdict: Big Boost
This latest update will come as a real boost to those of a Chelsea persuasion, with the club and fans alike growing restless for a sale to be confirmed, as they look to steer themselves out of what has been a particularly turbulent period owing to their current owner’s actions.
Despite the lack of a quick fix for any new owner, one issue that looks to have been resolved is the future of boss Thomas Tuchel, with the German appearing to commit his future to the club despite recent speculation of an enquiry being made by rivals Manchester United to fill their permanent manager’s position.
Even amid all the uncertainty, the former Paris Saint-Germain head coach has remained an unflappable presence in the hot seat, while he has also ensured that the club’s on-field performances have not been impacted too greatly, with his stellar squad through to the FA Cup semi-final’s and Champions League last eight, as well as having a firm grip on third place in the top-flight table.