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Todd Boehly’s first five priorities as Chelsea owner as American closes in on takeover



American billionaire Todd Boehly has won the battle to become Chelsea’s preferred bidder, but what should he prioritise if he does take over control from Roman Abramovich?

Todd Boehly
Todd Boehly is now Chelsea’s preferred bidder

Todd Boehly has moved one step closer to becoming the new owner of Chelsea after being confirmed as the club’s preferred bidder on Friday.

The American billionaire, who is a co-owner of the LA Dodgers and LA Lakers, has overcome the competition from two rival bids fronted by former Liverpool chairman Sir Martin Broughton and Boston Celtics owner Stephen Pagliuca. His consortium’s £3.5billion offer appears to have won the day, although there are still plenty of hurdles left to clear.

One could arrive in the form of Britain’s richest man, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who has submitted a late £4.25bn offer to buy the club from Roman Abramovich. “We put an offer in this morning,” Ratcliffe told The Times on Friday. “We are the only British bid. Our motives are simply to try and create a very fine club in London. We have no profit motive because we make our money in other ways.”

For now, though, it is Boehly and his consortium, which includes Swiss businessman Hansjorg Wyss, who are in the box seat. Now they are the preferred bidder, Government ministers and the Premier League can be presented with their proposal. Once that takes place, the Government can then issue a licence enabling the sale.

Boehly is co-founder and chairman of Eldridge Industries and already has sports experience thanks to stakes in baseball and basketball franchises, so this isn’t entirely new to him. But what would his priorities be at Chelsea if he takes over from Abramovich in the coming months?

1 Revamping the stadium

Stamford Bridge
Redeveloping Stamford Bridge is not a straightforward prospect

US merchant bank, Raine Group, reportedly told the bidders that they must commit at least £1bn to future investment in the club. Central to that figure is the redevelopment of Stamford Bridge, which is a key but particularly difficult issue for Boehly and his consortium.

The 41,837-seater stadium is much smaller than Chelsea’s Premier League rivals and expanding it is not simple. The freehold for Stamford Bridge is owned by the Chelsea Pitch Owners, not the club itself, which has complicated previous plans to expand the capacity of the stadium.

Boehly appears to be embracing the issue. According to the Evening Standard , he has engaged the services of property developer Jonathan Goldstein, has spoken to the former project director for Abramovich’s abandoned redevelopment, David Hickey and architect Janet Marie Smith, who worked on many major stadium redevelopments in the US.


2 Keeping Granovskaia

Marina Granovskaia has kept a low-profile at Chelsea. She has never given an interview to the media and is rarely pictured, apart from when posing with new signings or players who have renewed their contracts. But make no mistake: she is extremely important to the club.

The Russian-Canadian executive was brought in at Chelsea by Abramovich upon his arrival in 2003, having worked for the oil company Sibneft from 1997. She has been a senior advisor to him across the past 18 years.

Granovskaia has built up a reputation as a shrewd operator at Chelsea. It’s no surprise then that all of the final four bidders want her to stay on under the new ownership, according to The Athletic . Boehly may have some persuading to do, considering her close relationship with Abramovich.

3 Reassuring Tuchel

Thomas Tuchel has been forced to keep calm and carry on working with Chelsea whilst there has been lots of confusion and stress behind the scenes over the past few months. Speaking last week, the Chelsea manager said he couldn’t wait for the process to be over with so he could have some certainty.

“It would be ideal but you cannot pull grass and it grows faster,” he said. “We wish for it but we have to deal with the reality and the reality is that at the moment, sanctions are still in place and the situation is not clear for next season. So we try for the last weeks to focus on what we can influence and this will be the next match.”

Tuchel is a world-class manager who has done a brilliant job since arriving in January 2021. Boehly has to ensure he’s happy.

4 Defensive reinforcements

Antonio Rudiger and Thomas Tuchel
Antonio Rudiger’s departure will leave Thomas Tuchel short in defence next season

One way to keep Tuchel happy would be to ensure he’s got a fully-stocked defence to work with next season. Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen are both leaving the club when their contracts expire on July 1 and they are considerable losses to deal with – especially when you consider the wider context.

Thiago Silva is sticking around for another season, but is now 37 years old and cannot play every game. Club captain Cesar Azpilicueta could still leave after 10 years of service, with Barcelona courting him, while youngsters Trevoh Chalobah and Malang Sarr cannot be over relied upon

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