Arab tycoon hints at Chelsea bid | inside World Soccer


Arab tycoon hints at Chelsea bid

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Arab tycoon who brokered Abu Dhabi United Group's purchase of Manchester City has hinted he may become the man to finally test Roman Abramovich's Chelsea resolve.

The Russian billionaire has already made it perfectly clear that he has no intention of selling the Blues, taking the publishers of The Sunday Times to court after they claimed he was looking to cash in on the club.

But Dr Sulaiman al-Fahim, working with a Swiss firm backed by German businessmen, believes everything has its price - and may be ready to launch a takeover bid.

Dr al-Fahim told Arabian Business: "It's not entirely clear if Chelsea is for sale, but regardless of that, we first need to see if we are in a position to buy it.

"Given that Roman Abramovich has invested more than £500 million into the club, it would not be cheap, and with the current credit crunch, nobody wants to be over-exposed on one deal.

"But through a number of investors, there is money available to put together a deal."

Holger Heims, the managing director of Dr al-Fahim's private equity partnership, added: "We have looked before at some European clubs to see if the numbers added up, and now we are doing the same with Chelsea.

"I don't believe anything is ever not for sale if you come up with the right price."

Abramovich's personal fortune is understood to have been affected by the global credit crunch but he is expected to underline his continuing commitment the club when their accounts are published next month.

Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon said: "We have had investment of £600 million in the last five-and-a-half years with excellent facilities and football during that time.

"Next year we expect our operating profit to break even. Our financial accounts for 2007-08 are published in February and any notions about the owner losing interest are dispelled in that.

"The owner does not have to sell Chelsea and he doesn't want to."

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