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Who will buy Chelsea? Conor McGregor, Nick Candy & candidates for Abramovich to sell Blues to

16:15 GMT+3 14/03/2022
Nick Candy Roman Abramovich Conor McGregor
The Premier League outfit have been put up for sale, with a deal still possible despite the club's Russian owner seeing his UK assets frozen

Roman Abramovich may have seen his assets frozen by the UK government due to connections with Russian president Vladimir Putin, but Chelsea remain up for sale and a takeover could still go through if the right licenses and guarantees are obtained.

With that in mind, a race to secure ownership of Premier League heavyweights - and the current holders of a prestigious Champions League crown - is on, with multi-billion pound bids now in the pipeline.

A number of potential stakeholders at Stamford Bridge have emerged as interest builds steadily, from UFC superstars to wealthy supporters of the west London club, but who are those in the running? GOAL takes a look...

Nick Candy

An avid Chelsea supporter, billionaire property developer Candy has been talking to a group of American investors about forming a consortium to buy the Blues.

His £2.5bn ($3.3bn) proposal is said to include plans for a £1.5bn ($2bn) rebuild of Stamford Bridge, while the 49-year-old – who is married to former Neighbours actress Holly Valance – has made it clear that he would look to put fellow fans at the heart of his regime.

Candy has told Sky Sports of the reasons for his interest: "I’ve supported Chelsea since the age of four. My dad was asked to play for Chelsea. I love Chelsea.

"I don’t mind where it ends up, even if it is not with me, as long as it is in safe hands."

Hansjorg Wyss

The 86-year-old emerged as an early frontrunner after revealing long before Abramovich formally put Chelsea up for sale that he had been offered the chance to invest in the club alongside three other parties.

The Swiss – who is said to be worth £4.3bn ($5.6bn) after founding American medical device business Synthes – has claimed that Abramovich will need to lower his asking price in order for a deal to go through.

He has said: “Abramovich is currently asking far too much. You know, Chelsea owe him £2 billion. But Chelsea has no money. That means, those who buy Chelsea should compensate Abramovich.

“As of today, we don't know the exact selling price. I can well imagine starting at Chelsea with partners. But I have to examine the general conditions first. But what I can already say, I'm definitely not doing something like this alone. If I buy Chelsea, then with a consortium consisting of six to seven investors.”

Todd Boehly

The U.S. tycoon is one of those said to be interested in entering into a partnership with Wyss.

The co-founder, chairman and CEO of Eldridge Industries, who has a net worth of £4.72bn ($6.1bn), had two bids for Chelsea knocked back in 2019 and is a huge sports fan after already acquiring stakes in MLB side the Los Angeles Dodgers and NBA heavyweights the LA Lakers.

Conor McGregor

One of the more surprising candidates to have thrown his hat into the ring, the Irish MMA fighter saw his interest piqued once it was announced that Abramovich was looking for a buyer.

He tweeted “I wish to explore this, Chelsea” when responding to WhatsApp message in which a contact said: “Chelsea for sale, £3bn. Let's buy it.”

McGregor is famously a supporter of Manchester United and has previously expressed interest in wrestling control of the Red Devils from the Glazer family. He has also said that he is interested in getting involved with Scottish Premiership team Celtic.

Muhsin Bayrak

A Turkish businessman that made his £8bn ($10bn) fortune as chairman of AB Group Holding – a company which invests in tourism, cryptocurrency and construction – Bayrak is said to have met with Abramovich to discuss a possible deal.

He has, however, cast doubt over whether he would be welcomed to west London, saying: “I think they don't want Turkey to buy the club. Everyone should know that the Republic of Turkey is a very big state. Very serious business people come out of this state, and we exist and will be all over the world.”

Sir Martin Broughton

GOAL has been able to confirm that Broughton has held discussions about playing a role in bids that are being prepared for Chelsea.

He was previously involved in the deal that saw Fenway Sports Group bring the disastrous reign of Tom Hicks and George Gillett at Liverpool to an end in 2010.

Broughton, who is a former chairman of British Airways, is negotiating with backers about tabling his own offer, although he faces a race against time to generate the funds required to enter the bidding.

Jamie Reuben

Another fanatical Chelsea supporter that harbours dreams of taking control of the club he loves.

Reuben’s father and uncle – who form part of a £12bn ($15.6bn) business - bought a 10 per cent stake in Newcastle last year when a £300m ($391m) takeover at St James’ Park was completed, but he could head out on his own.

A man that boasts the likes of Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton and Boris Johnson among his friendship group could find it difficult to get a green light from the Premier League, though, due to his family ties with top-flight rivals on Tyneside.

Saudi Media

Another of the bidders to have a redevelopment of Stamford Bridge within their grand plans for Chelsea.

An approach from the Middle East is being spearheaded by Mohamed Alkhereiji, who runs Saudi Media and is CEO of the Engineer Holding Group parent company which was founded by his father Abdulelah Alkhereiji.

The company turns over more than £1bn ($1.3bn) a year, while Alkhereiji is a Blues supporter and was in attendance during Abramovich’s last visit to Stamford Bridge in November 2021.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe

Despite being a lifelong Manchester United supporter, a man with a £20bn ($26bn) fortune has been a season ticket holder at Chelsea for several years.

Ratcliffe – who runs multi-national chemicals company Ineos - is the owner of French side Lille and has admitted to holding talks regarding a deal for the Blues.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “There was some early exchange but we were a significant way apart on valuations.

“The issue with Chelsea is its stadium. We are all getting older and it is a decade of your life to resolve that.”

Others

Among the others to have been linked with Chelsea are New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, while there has been talk of Moneyball mogul Billy Beane forming part of a bidding consortium.

Jayed Afridi, who owns an automobile company and is CEO of consumer electrics giants Haier Pakistan, has been mooted as another potential bidder, along with Michael Rubin – the owner of sports merchandise group Fanatics, a company worth over £20bn ($26bn).

How much will it cost to buy Chelsea and when is the deadline for bids?

Abramovich is said to have acquired Chelsea for just £140m ($182m) back in 2003, with the club enduring serious financial difficulties at that time.

He has pumped considerable funding into the club over the course of a 19-year tenure and said investment has allowed 21 trophies to be secured – with that haul including five Premier League titles and two Champions League crowns.

The Russian billionaire was said to have put a £3bn ($4bn) asking price on Chelsea when looking to sell, but questions have been asked of that valuation and he is no longer allowed to profit from any agreement after being sanctioned by the UK government.

Anyone looking to do a deal, as the Blues work their way through a testing period off the field, must have best and final offers on the table at Stamford Bridge by Friday March 18.