Sir Jim Ratcliffe can help Chelsea copy Man City transfer network if Roman Abramovich sells up – Jake Stokes

Chelsea could soon be following in the footsteps of Manchester City as the Blues flirt with the prospect of founding their own City Football Group-styled project.

Roman Abramovich has put the west Londoners up for sale by inviting potential buyers to bid for the club this week, according to The Times.

The report claims that potential buyers have been contacted by an American-based merchant bank, who claim to be in charge of the sale of Chelsea, in a transaction that could cost as much as £4 billion.

However, The Times have added that the Russian billionaire could receive offers in the postcode of just £2 billion despite having rejected similar offers in the past.

Abramovich has enjoyed his time at the helm of Stamford Bridge, winning every possible honour available since buying the club from Ken Bates for £140m in 2003.

Chelsea’s owner reportedly has three potential suitors ready and waiting to table offers and one of which, according to 90min, is Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

The British billionaire is worth around £20 billion thanks to chemicals company Ineos, already owns top-flight French outfit Nice, which he bought for around £91m in 2019.

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Should Sir Ratcliffe beat Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss, who has confirmed his interest in Chelsea, to the takeover, the 69-year-old Brit could find his way into his own version of City Football Group.

The holding company administers several football clubs as part of a wider network that owns stakes in clubs in the United States, Australia, India, Japan, Spain, Uruguay, China, Belgium, France, and England.

However, by Sir Ratcliffe potentially owning Chelsea, the Blues could secure a good relationship with Nice, putting the club at the front of the queue for any emerging talent.

Billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, chairman and founder of Ineos Group Holdings Plc, pauses during a news conference at the official launch event of the Team Ineos cycling group in Ilkley, U.K., on Wednesday, May 1, 2019. Following its recent purchase of Team Sky, Ineos has said it's in talks to invest in OGC Nice, the French Ligue 1 soccer club. Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Sir Jim Ratcliffe interested in buying Chelsea FC

Equally, the relationship could work the other way too, and Chelsea could find themselves another Vitesse Arnhem – a club and system which proved pivotal in Mason Mount’s development.

Speaking to The Times, Sir Ratcliffe explained Nice’s transfer approach when criticising Manchester United’s spending, offering Chelsea fans an insight into what the billionaire’s project at Cobham could look like.

“United have spent an immense amount since Ferguson left and been poor, to put it mildly. Shockingly poor, to be honest,” he said.

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“We have a different approach here to be moderately intelligent about it. Try to do it more grassroots, trying to locate young talent.

“Some clubs seem to have an ability to do that, Southampton, Lille. United have done it really poorly. They have lost the plot there somehow.”

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