Raine Bank is set to name their preferred bidder for the takeover of Chelsea Football Club as soon as this week, according to the New York Times. It would put an end to a saga that has lasted almost two months.
Blues owner Roman Abramovich confirmed he was putting the club up for sale on March 2. Eight days later, he had sanctions imposed on him by the UK Government following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This put a freeze on all of his assets in the UK, with Chelsea forced to operate under a special sporting licence until a new owner takes charge.
The licence put a restriction on things the club could do, from inability to sell tickets and merchandise, to being unable to offer new contracts and sign players, though some of these measures have been lifted since. US banking firm Raine was put in charge of picking the next owner once bids had been tabled.
While a number of lucrative offers went in, Raine slimmed the options down to just four. These were consortiums led by Todd Boehly; Steve Pagliuca; Sir Martin Broughton; and the Ricketts Family. The Ricketts Family have subsequently dropped out of the running, leaving Raine with three offers to assess.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has already given his backing to whoever takes charge at the club. He said: “It is a huge amount of money, that’s why I am also confident because I think if somebody buys a club for this kind of money then it’s about challenging at the highest kind of level, then it’s about trophies, then it’s about winning and it’s about being the best you can. It’s not about developing a project, it’s not about making money with the club.”
With the New York Times report stating that a preferred bidder could be selected as early as this week, it means a difficult chapter in the club’s recent history may finally be drawing to a close. With closure needed for off-the-pitch action, the club will be hoping that improvements can be made on it, with a big summer transfer window coming up.