LONDON - Chelsea last night insisted Roman Abramovich will resume redevelopment work at Stamford Bridge and rejected reports that their Russian owner is ready to sell the club.
Only two months after Sportsmail revealed that Britain’s richest man, Jim Ratcliffe, had failed in an attempt to buy Chelsea despite tabling a £2billion offer, the Sunday Times reported that Abramovich had enlisted the services of an American investment bank to attract a buyer. But a club source on Sunday insisted the situation remained unchanged since Ratcliffe’s advances were rejected, adding that Abramovich has no desire to sell.
Indeed, Sportsmail can reveal that staff at Stamford Bridge have been told work on a £500million redevelopment will resume at the stadium even if a date has not yet been specified. At the end of May the club announced that the project to increase the stadium’s capacity to 60,000 had been shelved because of the "current unfavourable investment climate".
It was widely seen as Abramovich’s response to problems the Russian oligarch had encountered with the Home Office over his UK investor’s visa. But, while there remains concerns about the economy - particularly with the uncertainty over Brexit - club insiders are confident Abramovich will deliver on his vision for the stadium.
Since Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003, the club has won five Premier League titles and the Champions League. The club refused to issue a public denial of the latest reports because Abramovich, sources insist, is committed to winning more trophies.
They dismissed claims that US bank Raine Group had been hired to value the club ahead of searching for a buyer. Sources pointed out that the Sunday Times has claimed that Abramovich rejected an offer for a minority stake from an American private equity firm called Silver Lake Partners.