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Chelsea ‘confident’ of naming preferred bidder by Monday in potential £3.5-4b sale — reports

SOON

Chelsea’s sale is about to coming to an end Photo by Rasid Necati Aslim/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

It wasn’t last week. And it’s probably not this week. But it could be (early) next week!

According to CBS’s Ben Jacobs, Raine Group and Chelsea are “confident of selecting Chelsea’s preferred bidder by Monday at the latest”, after one last round of final considerations, talks, meetings, and such this week.

It would be a welcome development as we head into the final month of the season and into a most important summer. This has been a very quick, yet also seemingly quite drawn-out process, though that’s in part thanks to the constant daily reporting on every publicly available minutia of this incredibly complex financial transaction — further complicated by the sanctions placed on Roman Abramovich. (Not to mention the general impatience and short term thinking of football fans.)

When this process began, some had predicted that no one would want to touch Chelsea with a ten-foot pole given the whole Abramovich situation. As it’s turned out, there’s been no shortage of interest — mostly from North America, but also from the UK and various parts of Asia — and the final price of the transaction could be as high as £3.5-4 billion, according to the latest daily update from Sky News.

Apparently, Abramovich himself had asked all three finalists to increase their bids by an additional £500m last week. While it’s not quite clear why exactly that request was made, all three groups were “minded to agree” to it, as it’s set to be part of the charitable donation that will be made from the proceeds of the sale. That portion, which is in addition to the “£1-1.5b going to Chelsea in the form of investment in its stadium, academy, and women’s team”, could be anywhere from £1b to £2.5b in total. The report is slightly confusing and conflicting in that regard, citing multiple sources supposedly close to the deal but relaying wildly different numbers. (And the fact that it’s still not exactly clear how the £1.5b “debt” from Abramovich to himself can or will be handled probably isn’t helping either.)

The upshot of it all could be a record deal for a sports club or franchise, with the majority of the fee going to the victims of the war in Ukraine, just as Abramovich had intended. Chelsea have begun the consultation process for setting up the necessary charity (or foundation), with the government “understood to be aware” of that process starting.