Turkish tycoon Muhsin Bayrak has claimed that he is close to completing the purchase of Chelsea from Roman Abramovich and has vowed he will: “Fly the Turkish flag in London soon.”
Bayrak is the head of AB Group Holding, who have investments in cryptocurrency, construction and energy sectors and are reckoned to be worth around £8billion.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich put his club up for sale on Wednesday at an asking price of around £3.5bn, and according to city sources already has two bids on the table.
A consortium led by US billionaire Todd Boehly and Swiss businessman Hansjorg Wyss are also in talks with Abramovich’s lawyers and were believed to be the front runners in the bidding.
But Bayrak, who has been described as a close friend of Abramovich’s, said last night: “We are negotiating the terms of the purchase of Chelsea with Roman Abramovich’s lawyers.
“We are in the negotiation phase for the signatures. We will fly the Turkish flag in London soon.
“Roman Abramovich has confirmed that he will sell Chelsea. Our Holding Lawyers and Roman Abramovich’s lawyers have been in touch since the first day Chelsea entered the sales process.
“The negotiation process has come to an end and we are planning to sign soon. This sale is also very important for Turkey.”
The bank in charge of handling the potential deal, Raine Group, has stated that Abramovich will not rush into any sale.
Raine co-owner Joe Ravitch said: “We are not going to rush anything. It is very important that Chelsea have the right owner to guide the club forward.”
Official bids have been invited by Raine, before a March 15 deadline.
Egyptian billionaire Loutfy Mansour earlier yesterday said he would not be bidding for the club.
Abramovich has been forced into the sale, after 19 years in charge at Chelsea, over the threat of sanctions against him following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The 55-year-old is also reported to be selling some of his property in London.
Abramovich said in a statement on Wednesday: “I have always taken decisions with the club’s best interest at heart.
“In the current situation, I have therefore taken the decision to sell the club, as I believe this is in the best interest of the club, the fans, the employees, as well as the club’s sponsors and partners.
“The sale of the club will not be fast-tracked but will follow due process. I will not be asking for any loans to be repaid. This has never been about business nor money for me, but about pure passion for the game and club.
“Moreover, I have instructed my team to set up a charitable foundation where all net proceeds from the sale will be donated. The foundation will be for the benefit of all victims of the war in Ukraine.
“This includes providing critical funds towards the urgent and immediate needs of victims, as well as supporting the long-term work of recovery.
“Please know that this has been an incredibly difficult decision to make, and it pains me to part with the club in this manner. However, I do believe this is in the best interest of the club.
“I hope that I will be able to visit Stamford Bridge one last time to say goodbye to all of you in person. It has been a privilege of a lifetime to be part of Chelsea FC and I am proud of all our joint achievements.
“Chelsea Football Club and its supporters will always be in my heart. Thank you, Roman.”