Sir Jim Ratcliffe hijacks the takeover race:
Friday recorded several unexpected developments on Chelsea’s sale process as two consortia fronted by Steve Pagliuca and Martin Broughton were dismissed from consideration as prospective owners. However, an even bigger twist subverting all expectations was Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s late entry into the takeover race, challenging the consortium led by American tycoon Todd Boehly, who was believed to have clinched the deal last night before the shocking unfolding of events.
It was a curveball that landed like a left hook, as his launching bid totals up to a staggering £4.25 billion, the highest anyone has offered for the club. The Ineos owner is understood to have held talks with Chelsea’s senior figures – specifically Bruce Buck – on Thursday before finally deciding to submit an official bid on Friday.
Todd Boehly’s group has NOT yet entered into an exclusivity agreement with Chelsea and while in theory they have a week to complete a deal, the process has taken on new look.
Jim Ratcliffe's bid has not been ruled out and was sent directly to Raine Group.
— Simon Phillips (@siphillipssport) April 30, 2022
Ratcliffe, who is also Chelsea’s season ticket holder, had flirted with the idea of buying Chelsea Football Club from Roman Abramovich back in 2019 as well. Despite his long-standing interest in the club, the billionaire businessman didn’t submit an official bid to the Raine Group – the bank overseeing the sale process – for some odd reason.
However, his bid has now been confirmed through his company, Ineos who revealed their intention to purchase Chelsea in a statement that read:
“This is a British bid, for a British club,” “We will invest in Stamford Bridge to make it a world-class stadium, befitting of Chelsea FC.
“This will be organic and ongoing so that we will not move away from the home of Chelsea and risk losing the support of loyal fans.
“We will continue to invest in the team to ensure we have a first-class squad of the world’s greatest players, coaches and support staff, in the men’s and women’s games”.
It appears that the race to buy Chelsea is not yet completely over, or at least as clear as Todd Boehly has won. Think Jim Ratcliffe still has a decent chance personally. I don't think he goes into these things unless he thinks he has a very good chance.
Interesting days ahead! pic.twitter.com/iViAIGiq0g
— Simon Phillips (@siphillipssport) April 30, 2022
The £4.25bn Ratcliffe is proposing to pay would see £1.75bn go into the club as investment over the next 10 years, according to BBC Sport. The remaining £2.5bn will reportedly go to charitable organizations to help the victims of the war in Ukraine, as confirmed by Sir Jim Ratcliffe himself;
“Our motives are simply to try to create a very fine club in London. We have no profit motive because we make our money in other ways.
“That is why we are committing to spending £1.75billion over 10 years that will be for the direct benefit of the club”.
— Nick Purewal (@NickPurewal) April 29, 2022
The British billionaire currently has a net worth of over £12.1 billion and rising. He sits 124th on Forbes’ Real Time Billionaires list, which is 126 spots ahead of Abramovich (250) and a few hundred spots above both Todd Boehly (630) and Hansjorg Wyss (527).
It has been learnt that the Ratcliffe bid is in line with the UK government’s intentions and standards. Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s financial pledges suggest he’ll be perfectly capable of bringing in developments to the club’s different avenues and help shift Chelsea’s growth onto a positive trajectory. This idea is further reaffirmed by his existing sports portfolio. Ratcliffe’s sports investments include the Mercedes Formula One racing team, the Ineos Grenadiers cycling group and French football club OGC Nice. Ineos also funds the UK’s America’s Cup sailing team.
Another cause for optimism for Chelsea fans in regards to Ratcliffe’s bid is that this is the closest they could get to a one-man ownership structure – similar to that of Roman Abramovich’s – which the fans have become accustomed to. However, his involvement in the Ligue 1 side, Nice will present obvious hurdles in the way of his bid advancing the proceedings.
Ratcliffe bid isn’t astronomically higher than Boehly’s since price includes charitable donation. And Ratcliffe, like Pagliuca with Atalanta, must address ownership of Nice. That makes completing the sale in days (as he says he can) unlikely.
— Vince™ (@Blue_Footy) April 30, 2022
According to Football London, it is reported that Sir Jim Ratcliffe is even willing to increase corporate credit to win the takeover race, indicating the seriousness of his interest.
Sources close to Roman Abramovich suggest a potential Ratcliffe win hasn’t officially been ruled out as of yet, despite Todd Boehly being announced as current favourite to secure ownership of Chelsea.
— Chelsea FC News (@Chelsea_FL) April 30, 2022
WATCH: Chelsea’s out-of-favour striker Romelu Lukaku scores twice in action-packed second half 🔥
Romelu Lukaku scores twice v Wolves: Chelsea welcomed Wolverhampton Wanderers to Stamford Bridge tonight in a contest where they were hopeful of reversing their poor run of form to guarantee themselves a Champions League berth.
Despite the Blues receiving two goal scoring opportunities in the first-half of the game, it still ended in a stalemate. However, as the second-half commenced, Romelu Lukaku stepped up to strike twice in quick succession to put Chelsea on a trajectory toward what appeared to be a deserved victory at that time.
Lukaku’s goal tally for Chelsea this season has totalled up to 14 now, causing him to become the highest goal scorer for the Blues, just a goal ahead of Kai Havertz. His performance tonight underlines his renewed confidence as he looks to be approaching the sort of form that had deserted him for most of the season.
Romelu Lukaku hadn’t scored in the Premier League since December 29th.
129 days later and he's got a brace in 3 minutes ⚽⚽ pic.twitter.com/FzZx49vvHw
— B/R Football (@brfootball) May 7, 2022
Watch how Romelu Lukaku scores twice in quick succession to give Chelsea’s scoreline an uplift:
The first goal came in response to a VAR call for a foul committed by Saiss on Romelu Lukaku as both players were caught up in a tangle on the edge of the penalty area.
Watch Lukaku’s left-footed penalty here:
The second goal was a Pulisic interception that found Lukaku who then completed the play with an emphatic low finish from the edge of the box with his weaker right foot.
Romelu Lukaku gets his brace with an assist from Christian Pulisic!
— Chelsea FC USA (@ChelseaFCinUSA) May 7, 2022
Lukaku wasn’t able to register himself on the scoresheet for Chelsea ever since the start of year 2022 – a daunting prospect for such an expensive striker – however, that record has been laid to rest today as his goals v Wolves have certainly managed to make a statement of his intent.
It’s a shame that a subpar defensive performance from his side overshadowed his monumental return to form. Chelsea were stripped to bone with comeback goals from Wolves that added misery to Chelsea’s hopes of securing a victory. The game ended in an unanticipated 2-2 draw.
After racking up underwhelming results from their recent run-ins, Chelsea are looking a lot less comfortable in the rough and tumble of Premier League’s top-four now. With the fourth-placed Arsenal and fifth-placed Tottenham breathing down Chelsea’s neck, their margin for error has now decreased to just two points, especially after having picked up only 5 points from a possible 15.
Official: Todd Boehly’s consortium signs agreement with Chelsea FC to succeed Roman Abramovich
Chelsea released an official statement in the early hours of Saturday morning confirming that the terms have been agreed with the LA Dodgers’ part-owner Todd Boehly’s consortium to complete the £4.25bn takeover of the club though the acquisition is yet to be approved by the Premier League authorities as well as the UK government.
The statement read:
‘Chelsea Football Club can confirm that terms have been agreed for a new ownership group, led by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjoerg Wyss, to acquire the Club’.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) May 7, 2022
🚨🔵 Official. Chelsea statement now confirms that “terms have been agreed for a new ownership group, led by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjoerg Wyss, to acquire the Club”. #CFC
It’s the end of Roman Abramovich era. pic.twitter.com/fTw5EMdd8p
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) May 7, 2022
Last week, it was revealed that Todd Boehly & Co were Raine Group’s preferred choice to succeed Roman Abramovich following which the group were given one-week window of exclusive negotiations with the club to finalise the takeover. The deal had appeared in doubt due to late interest from Sir Jim Ratcliffe, however, those fears were dissipated as the Ratcliffe bid was later dismissed on account of his inability to complete the sale process by May 31st – the date when Chelsea’s current license expires.
Although the group is fronted by Todd Boehly, private equity firm Clearlake Capital is the one providing the majority of the financial firepower to it. The consortium also includes Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss, Boehly’s fellow LA Dodgers’ owner Mark Walter and the British property developer Jonathan Goldstein.
As per Chelsea’s official statement, the £4.25bn headline sum includes the £2.5bn cost required to secure shares in Chelsea – which will go into a frozen UK bank account for the purpose of releasing 100 per cent of the proceeds to charitable causes – the remaining £1.75bn is the amount the group have committed to invest in the club’s future, covering costs regarding redevelopment projects and ensuring there are sufficient funds in place for operational use.
‘The proposed new owners will commit £1.75bn in further investment for the benefit of the Club. This includes investments in Stamford Bridge, the Academy, the Women’s Team and Kingsmeadow and continued funding for the Chelsea Foundation’.
The Clause also placed a limit on the debt the new owners can place on the club.
It also made sure the group pledged £1.75B to be invested in Chelsea's male and female teams, the academy, stadium, and the Chelsea Foundation.
Roman Abramovich secured Chelsea for at least 10yrs. pic.twitter.com/RhZ985Vuxq
— SportsDokita (Odogwu ☝️) (@Sports_Doctor2) May 7, 2022
Few final, obligatory steps remain in the official transfer of ownership of Chelsea Football Club to Todd Boehly’s consortium, one of which requires all group members to complete the Premier League Owners’ and Directors’ Test. Furthermore, Chelsea will have to apply for the amended license from the UK government that would upgrade the club’s operational capacity in addition to allowing the transaction to go ahead. The preparations are underway as the Raine Group wants the sale process to reach its completion as soon as possible.
Chelsea team news v Wolverhampton Wanderers: Four players on the injury list, including a midfield duo.
Chelsea team news v Wolverhampton Wanderers: Chelsea welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers to Stamford Bridge on Saturday where they will be looking to reverse their poor run of form to guarantee themselves a Champions League berth. There are four player absentees that have been confirmed so far by head coach, Thomas Tuchel, in today’s pre-match conference.
After racking up underwhelming results from their recent run-ins, Chelsea are looking a lot less comfortable in the rough and tumble of Premier League’s top-four now. With the fourth-placed Arsenal and fifth-placed Tottenham breathing down Chelsea’s neck, their margin for error has now decreased to just three points, especially after having picked up only 4 points from a possible 12.
Chelsea team news v Wolverhampton Wanderers: The central midfield duo N’Golo Kante and Jorginho are ruled out of action for tomorrow’s clash as reported by Thomas Tuchel at a press briefing today.
Additionally, the long-term absentees Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ben Chilwell also remain restricted to the sidelines, despite returning to light training.
— Absolute Chelsea (@AbsoluteChelsea) May 6, 2022
N’Golo Kante had sustained a knock in the game against Manchester United, consequently missing last weekend’s trip to Everton where his fellow midfielder Jorginho was taken off the pitch at interval.
‘For N’Golo it comes too early. Jorginho is out as well, these two are missing. Callum and Ben Chilwell are still out,’ said the Blues boss.
The duo’s unavailability will give way to introducing Kovačić and most likely RLC in their stead as the latter is currently enjoying an upturn in form.
Mateo Kovačić returned to action as a half-time substitute last weekend after missing a couple games on account of nursing an ankle injury. He stands the highest chance of featuring a start in tomorrow’s game v Wolves.
There is a growing feeling that Tuchel might give Romelu Lukaku a start tomorrow, considering his substitute Kai Havertz is also struggling to find the form that has recently deserted him.
Thomas Tuchel has expressed optimism regarding Lukaku’s reaction in training this week. The Blues boss said;
‘I want him to be an important part of the squad, right now he is very important. There is no recruitment and no players are about to leave because it’s simply not possible,’
‘We need to adapt all the time, to contractual situations and also individual situations, to what we and the players want.
‘We signed a big player, he is a big player. He didn’t come on [at Everton] as we had only three changes, and unfortunately we used one at half-time with Jorginho. Otherwise there was a huge chance we had the same changes as against West Ham, with Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech,’
‘He trained very well, maybe he starts tomorrow, we’ll see.’
🗣️ "Maybe starts tomorrow, let's see." 👀
Thomas Tuchel says he wants Romelu Lukaku to be an important part of the squad next season and discusses why he wasn't played against Everton 🔵 pic.twitter.com/n8Lf0sEvRP
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) May 6, 2022