Chelsea ‘hold exploratory talks with 3 groups over potential $3.2bn sale’
The Mail on Sunday writes that US and Asian-based groups are among those interested in a potential purchase of the Stamford Bridge club, with the asking price believed to be in the region of £2.5 billion (US$3.2 billion).
Chelsea officials are said to have held “exploratory talks” in the past few weeks, while reports also indicate that Britain’s richest man, Jim Ratcliffe, could also still be keen on acquiring the London team, although he has balked at the supposed price tag.
Chelsea have officially not offered any indication that Russian billionaire Abramovich, 53, is contemplating calling time on his 16-year tenure as owner.
Recently, Blues chairman Bruce Buck rejected the sale speculation, saying Abramovich was “committed” to the club.Also on rt.com Abramovich 'committed' to Chelsea despite sale speculation – chairman
However, Abramovich has reportedly not been seen at any Chelsea games this season, having faced visa issues with the UK authorities in the fallout over the Skripal spy poisoning saga last year.
Abramovich has since acquired Israeli citizenship, which would allow him entry to the UK, but has apparently declined the opportunity to attend games in person.
The club also put plans for a new $1 billion stadium on hold indefinitely last year, citing an “unfavourable investment climate.”
Abramovich has plowed hundreds of millions of pounds into Chelsea since buying the club for £140 million in 2003.
His investment has brought about a golden age for the club, with honors including five Premier League titles and the UEFA Champions League.
This season the Blues, under manager Maurizio Sarri, have enjoyed mixed fortunes, and find themselves fourth in the league table with a battle on their hands to secure a Champions League spot.
Chelsea are, however, well-placed to reach the UEFA Europa League semi-finals, having secured a 1-0 win away at Slavia Prague in the first leg of their last eight game mid-week.
That competition could offer an alternative route to European club football's premier tournament, should they fail to finish in the top four in the league.