Jim Ratcliffe speaks to groups of Chelsea fans as he refuses to give up hope | chelsea

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has not given up hope of hijacking the deal to buy Chelsea, despite Todd Boehly’s consortium being selected as the club’s preferred bidderand held talks with groups of supporters to define his vision for the club.

The Boehly Group is in the midst of a five-day exclusivity period and remains the favorite to buy chelsea, who want to open contract talks with Mason Mount and Reece James once the takeover is complete. Terms of a deal for the club could be agreed with Roman Abramovich this week.

However, Ratcliffe’s £4.25billion offer last Friday is a potential complication. The British billionaire’s late bid came to light as Raine, the US bank handling the sale, told the three shortlisted candidates that Boehly’s group were the preferred bidder, and that the 69-year-old is not still ready to go.

A source close to Abramovich has warned against delisting Ratcliffe, whose involvement explains why Raine has not publicly confirmed that Boehly has beaten competition from consortia led by Sir Martin Broughton and Steve Pagliuca.

Ratcliffe, owner of British petrochemical company Ineos, signaled his seriousness as he met the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust last weekend. He insisted he would be in it for the long term, revealed plans to increase Stamford Bridge’s capacity to 60,000 and said he wanted to turn Chelsea into either Real Madrid or Bayern Munich from London. A Trust spokesperson said: ‘Although the CST has had initial discussions with Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his team, no further meetings are yet on the agenda.’

Boehly’s consortium, which includes his LA Dodgers co-owner Mark Walter, Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss, British property developer Jonathan Goldstein and US investment firm Clearlake Capital, is likely to become Chelsea’s new owners.

But fears have been expressed over Chelsea’s long-term future if the deal goes through, as Clearlake is expected to take a majority stake, with Boehly taking a minority stake and operational control. Insiders wondered if a private equity firm would be willing to splash the cash to help Chelsea compete for honours.

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    Ratcliffe, who has offered to pay £2.5bn for Chelsea and has pledged to invest £1.75bn over the next 10 years, is ready if talks with Boehly break down. The Pagliuca and Broughton consortia are also on hold.

    Eyebrows were raised at Ratcliffe making his offer two weeks after the deadline and bending the rules set by Raine. A source close to a competing bidder said it would be unprofessional for Ratcliffe, who made his offer after talks with Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck, to be considered.

    Chelsea, who will have to ask the government for a new license to complete the sale, will want to avoid further delays. Their operating license expires on May 31 and penalties imposed on Abramovich have affected Thomas Tuchel’s side, who face a battle to finish in the top four after losing three of their last six league games .

    The sanctions have prevented Chelsea from selling or buying players and mean they cannot award new contracts. Uncertainty played a role in Antonio Rüdiger’s imminent transfer to Real Madrid on a free transfer, creating turmoil in the dressing room, and led to rival clubs exploring the possibility of signing Mount and James.

    Mason Mount (left) and Reece James are among the best players to come out of Chelsea's academy.
    Mason Mount (left) and Reece James are among the best players to come out of Chelsea’s academy. Photography: Peter Cziborra/Action Images/Reuters

    Boehly’s group is aware of the need to enter into contract negotiations with James and Mount. The duo are two of the best players to emerge from Chelsea’s academy and are unlikely to want to leave, but there is a need to ensure they don’t start to feel undervalued.

    Mount has two years left on his contract and although the midfielder is considered a future Chelsea captain, he is one of their lowest paid players. The 23-year-old, one of Tuchel’s most important players, earns around £70,000 a week. Romelu Lukaku, whose future is increasingly uncertain, earns more than £300,000 a week.

    Sources have warned that Chelsea could face unnecessary problems if they play hardball with Mount. Insiders say the club must avoid a repeat of the situation with Rüdiger. The commanding centre-back earns around £90,000 a week and felt his performances deserved a lucrative pay rise, only for negotiations to fall through.

    James, who has three years left on a contract worth around £100,000 a week, is attracting interest from Europe’s top clubs.

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    Chelsea won’t want to do anything that might upset Tuchel. They are set to lose Andreas Christensen in a free game against Barcelona, ​​who are also hoping to sign Marcos Alonso and César Azpilicueta. Tuchel will have to spend a lot on his defense and there are also problems in midfield, with Jorginho and N’Golo Kanté out of contract next year. Jorginho is a target for Juventus.

    In attack, there are doubts over Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner. Pulisic has two years left on his contract and is unhappy with his lack of playing time. Lukaku could also be allowed to leave after the £97.5m striker failed to come off the bench during the Chelsea defeat against Everton.

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