TODD BOEHLY was a wrestler as a schoolboy.
Despite an 11-hour bid from Sir Jim Ratcliffe, one of Britain’s richest men, Boehly’s second bid to take over Chelsea appears to have been picked as the winning bid.
While Abramovich’s chosen deal broker, the US-based Raine Group, has publicly bid to remain silent for most of the two-month trial, the Wall Street Journal revealed the Los Angeles Dodgers’ shareholder Boehly was the “preferred bidder”.
That means Boehly and his supporters, which include Switzerland’s richest man Hansjörg Wyss, have now entered “exclusive talks” about completing a takeover.
What the end result will be for the Blues is less clear, although Boehly has already garnered the support of former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.
It appears the Boehly bid was able to demonstrate that it had funds available to meet Abramovich’s own latest demand for a further £500m investment in the proposed charity for war victims in Ukraine.
He was also able to give the club the guarantees of a ten-year commitment, funds to invest in the squad and the rebuilding of Stamford Bridge.
But the London School of Economics graduate must now prove that the numbers for the blues really add up.
Whoever takes over at Chelsea will inherit a squad that has already lost two key defenders without a contract Antonio Rudiger is moving to Real Madrid and Andreas Christensen are heading to Barcelona, while skipper Cesar Azpilicueta could return to Spain.
There are also serious doubts about Jorginho’s future, who are eyeing a trip back to Italy and include signing Romelu Lukaku for £97m.
Abramovich’s trophy-rich era comes at a huge personal cost, although the Russian confirmed even before he was placed on the UK government’s sanctions list that he was not looking for a return on his £1.5bn club loan.
Boehly, who is believed to be in his late 40s, is described as a “businessman, investor and philanthropist” with an estimated last net worth of £3.76 billion.
His stake in the Dodgers was acquired through his investment vehicle Guggenheim in 2012, and he also owns 27 percent of the LA Lakers NBA franchise.
Boehly was knocked back by Abramovich when he made his first bid to buy Chelsea for £3billion in 2019.
And he emerged as an early contender this time, particularly when consortium partner Wyss went public and claimed he was approached by Abramovich’s reps before the Russian announced his decision to sell.
In the US, he has donated to candidates for each of the major political parties — on both horses — though Wyss made a significant contribution to the Democratic coffers in the successful 2020 campaign to impeach Donald Trump.
But Premier League boardroom politics will be new ballgame overall, even if surrounded by a few familiar faces.
Arsenal’s Stan Kroenke, Liverpool’s John Henry, Villa’s Wes Edens, Crystal Palace’s Josh Harris and David Blitzer – part of one of the lost Chelsea bids – and newly promoted Fulham’s Shahid Khan all head up US sports franchises.
Chelsea, on the other hand, are a club that seems to be constantly in the eye of the storm.
Never more than in the last few months.
https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/football/18419693/incoming-chelsea-owner-todd-boehly-stamford-bridge-turmoil/ New Chelsea owner Boehly will have work to do when he arrives at Stamford Bridge with Blues in turmoil