Chelsea fans could have a clear idea of who will be the next owners of the Blues this week, with American bank Raine expected to reveal their preferred bidder from among three offers.
Raine were commissioned to lead the sale process by Roman Abramovich before the Russian was hit by UK government sanctions last month over his connections to Vladimir Putin.
The European champions have since been operating under a special licence that limits their ability to sell tickets, merchandise and operate in the transfer market.
Chelsea won 19 major trophies during Abramovich’s 19-year reign and could add another when they face Liverpool in next month’s FA Cup final.
However, the impact of the sanctions is beginning to show, with rows of empty seats in the home end for Arsenal’s 4-2 win at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
The club also cannot offer new contracts — defenders Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen are likely to leave at the end of the season on free transfers.
The hope is that new owners will be in place by the end of the campaign.
None of the three bids is expected to run into trouble passing the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ test or seeking UK government approval.ADVERTISEMENT. SCROLL TO CONTINUE READING.
Soft loans totalling £1.5 billion ($1.9 billion) from Abramovich have fuelled Chelsea’s success over the past two decades but he will not claim that money back and will not receive funds from the sale while sanctioned.
Despite those losses and the need for an expensive stadium upgrade to match their status as one of Europe’s top clubs, the sale is set to attract a world-record fee for a sports club of an estimated £2.5 billion.
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