The sale of Chelsea Football Club could jump ahead quickly after Friday’s deadline for bid submissions as shortlists of potential new owners to buy the club have emerged.
New York merchant bank, the Raine Group, will whittle down a shortlist of preferred bidders after Friday’s deadline to make an offer.
The fast pace of the Stamford Bridge club’s sale means a shortlist as tight as three bids could be in place by next week.
A strong nucleus of bidders are ready to submit their proposals, and a clutch of those suitors strengthened their hands significantly amid yet more remarkable developments.
Lord Sebastian Coe, joined Sir Martin Broughton’s bid, adding heavyweight credence to the former Liverpool chairman’s candidacy to buy Chelsea.
Coe, who is World Athletics president and London 2012 Olympics chief, and the lifelong Chelsea fans’ support by Broughton would be understood to find favour in government circles.
Chicago Cubs owners, the Ricketts family confirmed their Chelsea bid in a bullish statement and added influential hedge fund boss Ken Griffin to their consortium.
British property tycoon Nick Candy recruited Chelsea’s favourite Gianluca Vialli to his bid, with the former Italy attacker and current Azzurri assistant manager sure to win favour with Chelsea supporters.
Vialli’s sports investment and merger company, Tifosy’s expertise, would also add substance to Candy’s bid.
LA Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly was the first to emerge as a genuine contender in the Chelsea race, with the US magnate’s consortium another to carry out.
New York Jets owner Woody Johnson has long been mooted as lining up a bid but has yet to make his intentions public.
Recall that Roman Abramovich had put Chelsea up for sale earlier this month, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Russian billionaire was then sanctioned by the UK Government last week, with all his UK assets frozen barring Chelsea, with the Blues operating under strict Downing Street licence.
The Government sanctioned Abramovich after claiming to have proven his links to Russian President Vladimir Putin, but the 55-year-old has always denied those assertions.