Roman Abramovich’s tenure as Chelsea owner probably isn’t ending anytime soon. While it is true that he no longer frequents Stamford Bridge and he put a stop to the new stadium plans — both a direct result of his visa issues — by all accounts, he’s staying committed to the club behind the scenes and taking an active interest in the fortunes of his Blues.
That of course doesn’t mean other interested parties won’t try to convince him that it’s time to let go — nor that media speculation will stop regarding his future at the club and in the UK.
One name mentioned fairly frequently is Sir Jim Ratcliffe, London-born expat living in Monaco’s tax haven, the UK’s ‘wealthiest man’ with a fortune of around £20 billion. Recently, Sir Jim and his brother, Robert, appeared to admit defeat, calling the market “massively inflated” but apparently that’s not quite the final word on the issue.
“You never say no, but I don’t know where those conversations will finish.
“I think we’ve dipped our toe in the water with football. It’s a complicated sport, it’s a complicated world. We’ve bought this club in Switzerland and it’s been really educational. We haven’t got to where we’ve got to in the chemical and business world by being impetuous or rash or stupid.”
“We recognise it’s a very complicated world. We’re not in a desperate hurry to get to the end game in football.”
-Jim Ratcliffe; source: BBC via Evening Standard
In addition to purchasing Swiss club Lausanne in 2017, the Ratcliffes has been in negotiations over the purchase of OGC Nice. They claim to have ”big ambitions” for the club, even if their tactics appear to be very much grounded in the world of business and investments. That doesn’t sound like the most promising approach in a world where continuous large-scale investment is required to stay at the top of the game.
Abramovich had proven over the past decade and a half that Chelsea are not just some pet project or vanity exercise. We certainly wouldn’t be where we are today without him, and he’s continued to pour his money into the club as we struggle to achieve the practically impossible dream of self-sufficiency. Not all of his decisions have been perfect — no one’s are — but we could do far, far worse than him.