Raine Group aim to reduce the number of Chelsea bidders, including Saudi Media Group, to a shortlist of just two or three in the next hours, according to Sky News.
The New-York based merchant bank, who is overseeing the sale, reportedly had a meeting with Chelsea executives on Monday to whittle down the bids.
The investors who have already lodged their bids also told Sky News that they expect to be notified as early as Monday evening whether they made it to the next stage of the process.
Roman Abramovich will reportedly have no meaningful influence over the outcome of the process.
Instead, the Raine Group are said to have been instructed to pick the preferred bidders based on a combination of price and “an assessment of the best future steward of the club”.
While new names of the potential buyers have emerged recently, among those whose identities have been publicly discussed, Sky News claim there are three parties who are considered serious contenders.
These are Todd Boehly-led consortium, the joint-bid tabled by Ricketts family and Ken Griffin, and the consortium led by Lord Martin Broughton – Lord Coe.
What about the Saudi Media Group, whose proposals reportedly include contract extension offers for Antonio Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta?
The report from Sky News claims that the prospect of a sale to a bidder from a Gulf state is seen as “exceedingly remote”.
While the Saudi Media Group are reportedly confident that they have no direct links to the Saudi Arabian government, senior figures in English football have reportedly discussed the scenario that the Mohamed Alkhereiji-led group could be a front for the state.
Sky News further added that one club executive said that a Saudi takeover could present “a nightmare” for the Premier League amid unprecedented scrutiny over ownership and governance of its clubs.
Still, the decision will ultimately be made by the Raine Group and Chelsea executives and whether the preferred bidders will pass the Premier League owners’ and directors’ test.