A late eye-watering request from Roman Abramovich has 'complicated' the Chelsea takeover process by raising the asking price for the club close to £4billion.
The Blues remain in limbo after being slapped with a host of government sanctions due to Abramovich's relationship with Russian president Vladimir Putin. The oligarch strenuously denies these links but put the club for sale in March, with American firm Raine Group tasked with selecting a preferred bidder.
An announcement is expected on Monday according to the Times, but Abramovich has 'stunned' the prospective owners with an eleventh-hour demand to raise their offers by £500million. Coupled with a £1bn guarantee earmarked for stadium redevelopment and investment in the playing squad, this has brought the total cost of a takeover close to £4bn.
The interested parties reportedly remaining are a group backed by Loe Coe and Lewis Hamilton, a consortium led by LA Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly, and Boston Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca's party. The sanctions in place mean Abramovich can not profit from the sale, and the 55-year-old has dedicated the proceeds to support the victims of the war in Ukraine.
The outgoing Chelsea owner has also outlined his intention to write off a £1.54bn loan owed to him by the club. However, this has led to a potential issue with the money owed unable to be paid between two companies linked to Abramovich.
Final presentations were held at Stamford Bridge, during which the bidders were informed of the need to raise their bids to ensure more than £1bn can be donated. An insider told the Times: “We are not talking about a small sum here. For this to come up at the eleventh hour is an issue we are now trying to work through.”
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The ongoing uncertainty and sanctions has cast doubt over the futures of many within Chelsea's first-team squad. Antonio Rudiger has confirmed his intention to leave the club this summer with Real Madrid linked, while fellow out-of-contract defender Andreas Christensen has been tipped to join Barcelona.
However, manager Thomas Tuchel has reaffirmed his commitment to the club despite the uncertainty. Speaking prior to Chelsea's 1-1 draw at Manchester United on Thursday night, he told reporters: “The situation is not ideal. It would be challenging enough with a stable situation. We don’t have that so everyone is doing it for the first time.
"And we try to show our commitment, our passion, for it and maybe it is very important for me to give this message: I’m committed, I’m looking forward to it and I’m passionate about it. And as soon as we can act we will try to turn things around and make it, from a disadvantage, maybe an advantage.”
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