New tycoon ‘confirms interest’ in buying Chelsea from Abramovich
British property tycoon Nick Candy is preparing to join a list of bidders to purchase Chelsea from Russian owner Roman Abramovich with a £2.5 billion ($3.3 billion) offer, according to reports which were confirmed by his spokesperson.
After first announcing he would be handing over "stewardship and care" of the club to its trustees amid Russia's military operation in Ukraine, Abramovich then put Chelsea on the market with his asking price believed to be as high as £4 billion ($5.3 billion).
As stated by his spokesperson, Candy, who is reportedly worth £1.5 billion ($2 billion), is "actively exploring a number of options" for a bid for the Premier League giants which would be made "in conjunction with another party (or consortium)", though no details on figures were forthcoming.
The spokesperson claimed that Candy has "serious interest from several international partners" and a "huge affinity" with Chelsea as reports circled that Candy had thrown his hat into the potential ownership ring.
"His father was asked to play for the club and he has been watching matches at Stamford Bridge since the age of four," it was added, while the spokesperson said that the club "deserves a world class stadium and infrastructure and Mr. Candy's unique expertise and background in real estate would be a hugely valuable asset to delivering this vision."
🔵 Property developer Nick Candy issued a statement about his interest in buying Chelsea. 💬 "Mr. Candy is actively exploring a number of options for a potential bid for Chelsea. The club deserves a world-class stadium and infrastructure." [via @SkyKaveh] pic.twitter.com/XmxcKhP7nN— Football Daily (@footballdaily) March 9, 2022
Elsewhere, a proposal not thought to be worth much more than £2 billion ($2.6 billion) from a consortium headed by Todd Boehly and Hansjorg Wyss has already been presented, and Turkish businessman Muhsin Bayrak has registered his interest in buying Chelsea for under £2.5 billion ($3.3 billion) ahead of talks on Thursday with Abramovich's representatives.
"People are talking about it, we made some progress in the talks, and the world believes we have a 90% chance of completing the deal. Abramovich thinks the same," Bayrak said to Turkish broadcaster Oda TV.
A source told The Guardian that Abramovich's wishes for a quick sale could lower his asking price, but the 55-year-old wants any prospective buyers to show they have a viable plan and the financial means to prolong success at Chelsea, who are reigning European and world champions.
Abramovich does not want to see the 21-trophy legacy he built in west London since his 2003 takeover fall by the wayside, and Candy's Stamford Bridge intentions could swing in his favor given the reluctance of some bidders to reconstruct a ground that is smaller than the home stadiums of rivals elsewhere in the UK capital such as Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.
Abramovich is also allegedly unsure if Boehly, who part-owns the LA Dodgers baseball team, and Wyss, an 86-year-old billionaire from Switzerland who has publicly stated that the Russian's asking price is too high, are the right people to take over the reins at Chelsea.
Wyss and Boehly are awaiting a response from Abramovich, with all interested parties given a March 15 deadline to submit their bids given the possible threat of sanctions from the UK government that would prohibit Abramovich from being able to sell Chelsea.
As New York-based bank Raine will oversee the sale, there is speculation that Chelsea’s next owners may also hail from the US.
The owner of NFL franchise the New York Jets, Woody Johnson, is said to be readying his own bid while Chicago Cubs chairman Thomas Ricketts has been name-dropped too.
There is supposed interest from Josh Harris as well, but his stake in Crystal Palace complicates matters for the private equity investor who boasts parts of NHL outfit the New Jersey Devils and NBA outfit the Philadelphia 76ers.
Other figures at Chelsea that could follow Abramovich through the exit are captain Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen, who are both tipped to join Barcelona on free transfers, and Antonio Rudiger.
Financial uncertainty could also rule Thomas Tuchel's men out of signing Borussia Dortmund superstar striker Erling Haaland.