Chelsea’s ownership appears to have an American suitor. New York Jets owner Woody Johnson is preparing a bid for the reigning Champions League winners, according to ESPN. The report says that Johnson has already been in touch with Raine Group, which is organizing the bid. Johnson was located in London when he was the United States ambassador to the United Kingdom from 2017 to 2021. The club is up for sale for around $2.24 billion.
Current Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich announced last week his decision to sell the club amid mounting calls in the U.K. for him to face sanctions in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Dialogues with interested parties have begun since he has distanced himself from the team. Net proceeds of the club’s sale will be going to victims of the war through a foundation he’s pledged to set up.
If Johnson wins the bid to buy the club, he will be the third current majority owner of an NFL franchise and a Premier League club. The others are:
- Los Angeles Rams and Arsenal FC owner Stan Kroenke
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Manchester United owners the Glazer family
Additionally, San Francisco 49ers Enterprises, backed by Denise DeBartolo York and Jed York, own a minority stake in Leeds United, while Jackson Jaguars owner Shad Khan owns second-division club Fulham.
Johnson is not the first suitor to emerge with ties to North American sports. Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss is part of a consortium that includes Todd Boehly, part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Sparks. On Sunday, we learned that the Ricketts family, owners of Major League Baseball’s Chicago Cubs franchise since 2009, had expressed interest.
The news of Johnson’s interest may be welcomed by American star Christian Pulisic as the Chelsea man is a fan of the Jets.
The club is currently in sitting in third in the Premier League with 53 points and are also heavily favored to move on to the last eight of the UEFA Champions League (catch all the Champions League action on Paramount+).