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Chelsea bidder Pagliuca hints at selling Atalanta majority stake to buy European champions

5:10 PM IST 12/04/22
Stamford Bridge Chelsea Real Madrid Champions 06042022
One of those in the running to succeed Roman Abramovich at the Stamford Bridge helm has stated that he is ready to step up his interest

Steve Pagliuca, who is one of the bidders in the running to complete a takeover at Chelsea, has hinted that he is ready to sell his majority stake in Serie A side Atalanta so that a path is left clear for power to be seized at Stamford Bridge.

With Roman Abramovich looking to part with Premier League heavyweights after seeing his assets frozen by the UK government, a protracted sale saga is beginning to edge towards a close.

Pagiluca, along with the other three interested parties still in the running, must have finals bids tabled in west London by Thursday – two days after the Blues take in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final clash with Real Madrid - with the race on to secure ownership of the current European champions.

What has been said?

On his efforts to take control at Chelsea, Pagliuca – who co-owns the Boston Celtics basketball team alongside his sizeable stake in Atalanta – has said in a statement: “During this hugely significant week for Chelsea, we would first like to wish Thomas and the Chelsea squad the very best of luck ahead of tonight’s Champions League match against Real Madrid. Having witnessed a great 6-0 win against Southampton last week, I hope to see a comeback for the ages against Real Madrid in the quarter-final second leg.

“This process has been a disconcerting time for the football club and fans. Throughout my life and career, my ethos has always been to operate quietly, with integrity, and let my actions and results speak loudly. However, it is imperative to clarify and assure supporters about our bid group and its commitments, to emphasize how seriously we take our potential responsibility to Chelsea.

“Our first focus and goal is to make strategic investments to continue competing for championships and trophies. We will support our players and managers to make sure that Chelsea are habitual winners and title contenders, whether in the Premier League, Champions League or the Women’s Super League [the only Super League we intend competing in, for the record]. In addition, we will continue to invest in the youth academy to develop the stars of the future and we would not be in this process if we did not have an exciting and inclusive vision for Chelsea.

“Our second focus will be to continue to cherish and preserve the legacy and traditions of the club. In over 20 years of ownership of the Boston Celtics, we have not once considered changing the name, colours, or logo of the club. This is our guarantee to Chelsea fans.

“Not only are we committed to remaining at the home of Chelsea, Stamford Bridge, but we are inspired to renovate or redevelop the stadium. Chelsea is a world-class team, in a world-class city, with world-class fans: it deserves a world-class stadium.

“Our third focus will be having a significant positive impact in the community. We believe passionately that clubs have a social responsibility, and we will continue to support The Chelsea Foundation and its impressive work in education, health and wellbeing, and diversity and inclusion both locally and globally. Chelsea should be the Pride of London for its on and off-field accomplishments. It has fans all over the world and we will not tolerate bullying, antisemitism, racism, or any other form of hateful speech - and neither should our fans.

“Ultimately, fans will see our commitment and, we hope, trust us to stay true to our values on and off the pitch. We understand the responsibilities that come with such an important sporting institution and hold ourselves accountable to the fans.

“Later this week, we will submit a substantial and credible bid proposal – one that we expect will meet the respective requirements and regulations of the Premier League, UK Government and UEFA – and we pledge to honour our commitment to credibility and good guardianship of Chelsea Football Club from day one.”

Who is involved in Pagliuca’s bid for Chelsea?

Private equity billionaire Pagliuca, who made his fortune at Bain Capital, forms part of a consortium that is eager to inherit the reins at Chelsea from the departing Abramovich.

NBA chairman Larry Tanenbaum, who owns a number of North American sports teams, is reported to be involved.

Other co-investors are said to be John Burbank, the founder of the San Francisco hedge fund Passport Capital, and Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin.

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