Who are Chelsea’s potential new owners and what issues do they face? | chelsea
Who is behind the consortium?
The group’s decision came when Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss, 86, made public his interest in buying Chelsea from Roman Abramovich. Wyss said he was working with other investors and it soon turned out that the figurehead of the offer was Todd Boehly, an American co-owner of the LA Dodgers baseball team. Boehly, who co-founded Eldridge Industries, is worth an estimated $4.5 billion and his interest in Chelsea didn’t come out of nowhere: He had an offer rejected by Abramovich in 2019.
Nothing was left to chance this time and Boehly was chosen as the preferred bidder for Chelsea despite a late bid from Sir Jim Ratcliffe. Investors include Jonathan Goldstein, a British businessman who is the CEO of Cain International and a Tottenham fan, and Boehly Dodgers co-owner Mark Walter. There is also the support of the American investment company Clearlake Capital. Daniel Finkelstein, a conservative peer and Times columnist, and Barbara Charone, a celebrity publicist, will become non-executive directors if the deal goes through. The consortium received advice from Robey Warshaw, where former Chancellor George Osborne works.
Boehly is expected to be the most influential figure in Chelsea management, with Wyss more in the background. Boehly has long worked with Goldstein, a lawyer who has been a major player in the real estate world, and with Walter.
What did Boehly do for the Dodgers?
It looked like Stan Kroenke was going to buy the Dodgers for £900million 10 years ago, only for Boehly’s group to stun the Arsenal owner by offering £1.3billion for the franchise. It was a huge statement of intent and Boehly, who studied at the London School of Economics and is co-owner of the Los Angeles Sparks women’s basketball team, has since shown plenty of ambition. There has been consistent investment in the Dodgers and they won the World Series in 2020, suggesting Boehly would be focused on winning at Chelsea.
Are there any potential hitches?
The emergence of Ratcliffe’s interest raises the possibility of a late U-turn from Abramovich. No other candidate remains in the running. None of the investors in the Boehly consortium have any stakes in rival football clubs and there are no political controversies linked to the offer.
Will the approach be different from Abramovich’s?
Don’t expect Boehly’s group to protect Chelsea’s position by granting them £1.5bn in loans. There is likely to be a desire to make the club self-sufficient and the days of spending £200m on signings in a summer may be over, although that doesn’t necessarily mean Chelsea will no longer be able to. fight for top honors. They have become one of the biggest brands in the world and could use a different approach off the pitch.
A ruthless culture of hiring and firing managers has been the norm under Abramovich, but the new hierarchy should seek to build around Thomas Tuchel and give him more control over recruitment. It could be good for the German. Tuchel has enjoyed working with influential director Marina Granovskaia and technical and performance adviser Petr Cech, who is expected to stay but a change in the boardroom could make him even more powerful.
Are there plans to renovate Stamford Bridge?
This will be key to boosting Chelsea’s finances. Stamford Bridge has a capacity of 42,000 and is smaller than the grounds of Arsenal, Tottenham and West Ham. A stand-by-stand renovation is a possible solution. The move would be fraught with pitfalls as full ownership is held by the not-for-profit plc, Chelsea Pitch Owners (CPO).
Will there be a fan engagement?
All of the bidders have had to engage in dialogue with the CPO and the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust, but it remains to be seen if there will be any golden share for the fans.
What problems need to be solved?
The new owners will have to provide Tuchel with funds to fill in the gaps in his defence. Antonio Rüdiger has decided to join Real Madrid for free and Barcelona are set to sign Andreas Christensen when the Danish centre-back’s contract expires at the end of the season. Barca also retain an interest in César Azpilicueta, who could be allowed to leave despite Chelsea triggering an automatic one-year extension to their captain’s contract.
The upset could leave Tuchel with Thiago Silva, Malang Sarr and Trevoh Chalobah as his only senior centre-backs. Levi Colwill could step in after a fine loan spell at Huddersfield but more experience is needed.
Are there any problems in other positions?
Owners will need to get to work quickly. They need to start negotiations with Mason Mount, whose contract expires in two years, and determine if any changes are needed in the midfield. Decisions will have to be made regarding N’Golo Kanté and Jorginho, with both midfielders out of contract next year. Is it time to sell any of them as Conor Gallagher returns from his loan spell at Crystal Palace?
As for the attack, Chelsea must also decide to cut their losses on Romelu Lukaku. The striker hasn’t settled in since his £97.5m move from Internazionale last summer and doesn’t seem to suit Tuchel’s style.
Will they be active in the transfer market?
Chelsea will have to replace Christensen and Rüdiger and should rekindle their interest in Sevilla’s Jules Koundé. Leicester’s Wesley Fofana and RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol are also being watched, and Atlético Madrid’s José Giménez has been targeted in the past.
There is an opportunity to refresh the team. West Ham’s Declan Rice remains a target in midfield, although Monaco‘s Aurélien Tchouaméni would be easier to buy. Likewise, Lille striker Jonathan David could be more affordable than Benfica’s Darwin Núñez, although income in attack may depend on sales. There are doubts about Lukaku, Christian Pulisic, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech.