It won’t be long until Chelsea’s preferred option to take ownership of the club are revealed with the deadline for final bids imminent. Following that point, Raine Group and the club will be able to make a request to the government to change the licence the Blues are currently operating under to allow the sale to go through.
A takeover could be complete and the Roman Abramovich era could be over by the middle of May. The season may be coming to a close at that stage but there will be a great deal for Todd Boehly, Stephen Pagliuca, Martin Broughton or the Ricketts family to get underway.
While investment in the squad, the redevelopment of Stamford Bridge, supporter involvement and more have been at the forefront of proposals, other initial steps will be required. The operating licence put in place following Roman Abramovich being placed on the United Kingdom’s sanction list has impacted the way the club has been allowed to work on a day-to-day basis.
Full story: Chelsea sale LIVE: Takeover latest, Boehly leads race, confirmed deadline and major Rudiger risk
Reports have emerged over Antonio Rudiger’s future and the possibility of a move away from Stamford Bridge with the German still set to see his contract expire come the end of the season. The Blues are unlikely to be even allowed to make any agreement official for another month, leaving room for others to intervene.
Progress on future preparations has inevitably stalled to an extent, and while the club may be hopeful that plans can remain in place, restrictions and the unknown intentions of a new ownership group, means Chelsea could be falling behind their rivals.
In essence some areas have gone into paralysis. The club have not been able to sell merchandise during the period, and while some rules have been relaxed the Blues cannot sell home tickets to their Premier League matches. The club shop and hotel have been closed and limitations are in place on the funds Chelsea can use to host and travel to their matches. More pertinently for the playing squad, no transfers can be agreed or completed, and no contracts can be renewed.
The impact of that is already being felt. Chelsea and their supporters may not want to countenance the departure of Armando Broja, but an impressive season will nevertheless mean he draws interest. Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl was vocal about his interest, but in his press conference ahead of the weekend the Austrian suggested the club’s situation has stressed communication.
He said: “We are not discussing this [a transfer for Broja] at the moment. We all know the situation at Chelsea, there are a lot of changes there and it is not so easy to find the right person to talk to about futures of players. It is easier to concentrate on your job and what we can do between now and the end of the season. The higher up the table we finish, the more attractive we are for players and this is the goal for the last seven games.”
Regardless of whether Thomas Tuchel plans to keep the young forward in his squad, this could be the tip of the iceberg considering other negotiations and the difficulty of communicating with other clubs at the moment. Whenever the takeover is complete, the new owners cannot waste time before catching up on the work that has been unable to be completed since the beginning of March.