Chelsea’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich is reportedly looking to sell the club. Ever since buying the club in 2003 for £140 million – at a time when the club was on the verge of bankruptcy – he transformed Chelsea into one of England’s most successful clubs, delivering five Premier League titles, five FA Cups, three League Cups, one Europa League title and, in 2012, the cherry on the cake: the Champions League. 15 titles in 15 years. In total he has spent close to £1.5 billion.
Whilst Abramovich has kept a low profile in the press – he hasn’t given an interview in the UK for over ten years – he has been a regular fixture at Stamford Bridge, immersing himself in the minutiae of the club’s on the pitch performance and off the pitch business.
But a geo-political scandal involving a nerve agent, an assassination attempt and Russian president Vladimir Putin has seen him become, effectively, persona non grata in the UK, where he is now not allowed to work. Instead, he has taken citizenship in Israel and is now, reportedly, looking to offload the club for £3 billion, which would be a world record sale price for a sports team. So, what went wrong? And what does this mean for Chelsea’s future?