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Muhsin Bayrak claims to fly flag of Turkey over Chelsea; Mansour drops out; plus 10 ‘credible buyers’ — reports

Clowns to the left, jokers to the right

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Roman Abramovich Chelsea Headline photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images

As the great Gerry Rafferty once wrote about the music industry, there are clowns to the left, jokers to the right, and here he is stuck in the middle with you.

If Rafferty were still alive and making music today, he might write those lines (along with co-writer Joe Egan) about the Chelsea bidding war instead, which unfortunately doesn’t include Loutfy Mansour, who sounded like a potentially promising owner.

So instead, there are all sorts of clowns and jokers coming out of the woodwork, and not just obvious attention-seekers like former MMA star Conor McGregor, who’s “submitted” his £1.5b opening bid (or about ten times what his net worth might be) on Twitter.

Because that’s how business gets done!

We also have some dude named Muhsin Bayrak coming in hot with a bold claim that not only is he making a bid, but he’s already finished negotiating and will soon be flying the flag of Turkey over Stamford Bridge as the new owner! Wow!

“We will soon fly the Turkish flag in London.”

-Muhsin Bayrak; source: Yeni Şafak via Guardian

Bayrak, who apparently owns a company named AB Grup, complete with an amateurish website (what secure layer?), entry-level PhotoShop skills, at least one Bentley, and an even more hilarious Instagram account, confirmed his intentions to The Guardian as well, so you know, it’s happening!

And so, we’re stuck with the men in the middle, the Swiss Wyss and Todd Gack Boehly, though the Wyss-Boehly bid has now become the Boehly-Wyss bid, for what it’s worth, with The Todd bringing most of the money it would appear. However, it would appear that Boehly still doesn’t want to invest more than the £2b or so that Abramovich rejected a few years ago. Welcome to doing things on the cheap!

This Swiss-American/American-Swiss cheese consortium seem to be banking on Abramovich feeling the pressure from the UK government, but the UK government appear to have their hands tied to some extent (i.e. the extent to which they want them tied) in handing out any swift (or even not-so-swift) sanctions.

“None of us want to live in a country where the state can take your house off you without a very high burden of proof and due process. There’s no point say, yeah, we’re going to go after him, and then you come up against the brick wall of lawyers. So we have to get it right. We’re also trying not to just make this about one individual.”

-PM Boris Johnson; source: La Repubblica via Google Translate

In fact, the people in charge of this transaction on the Chelsea side, Raine Group LLC, have reiterated Abramovich’s stated intention to not make this a firesale and follow due process and vet all the takeover candidates financially, politically, and presumably in terms of their sporting ambitions as well. (Though mid-March still seems to be the hard deadline for any bids.)

“We are not going to rush anything. It is very important that Chelsea have the right owner to guide the club forward.”

-Joe Ravitch, Raine co-founder; source: Reuters

We can only hope that some other investors or groups will emerge, though anyone coming in after Abramovich is going to at least look like a massive downgrade (for every facet of the club, and the local community).

ESPN add that “at least 10 credible buyers” have expressed interested, including RedBird Capital (who already have an 11% stake in FSG, and also own Toulouse FC in France) and one led by Michael Rubin of Fanatics fame, who just raised £1.5b in funding, incidentally.