Woody Johnson is a trusted friend of Donald Trump and will reportedly launch a last-ditch bid to buy Chelsea and succeed Roman Abramovich, with the deadline to submit a takeover offer looming
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Donald Trump ‘s trusted friend, Woody Johnson, is set to launch a £2billion bid to buy Chelsea at the eleventh hour.
The Blues are open to takeover offers until close of play on Friday and Johnson has become the latest investor interested purchasing the club from Roman Abramovich, who was recently sanctioned by the UK Government after his links to Russian president Vladimir Putin came to light amid the invasion of Ukraine.
It has reported by The Sun that Johnson, Trump’s US Ambassador to the UK until last year, is hoping to pip current favourites, Saudi Media Group, before Friday’s deadline. While his bid is considerably less than the £2.7bn offer from the Middle East, the 74-year-old is confident that he can win the race thanks to his extensive London links.
Co-owner of American football behemoths the New York Jets for the past 22 years, Johnson also believes that can raise Chelsea’s profile in the American market should a takeover be successful. “What Chelsea need right now is longevity and stability when it comes to a new owner. Woody and his team think they can provide that,” a source told the newspaper.
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“He’s run the Jets successfully and knows a huge amount about the sports industry. And he’s spent the last four years in London and knows it well.” Full name Robert Wood Johnson is the heir to pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson and his resources come from his family’s fortune which is said to be to be worth a whopping £28bn.
Johnson has reportedly told those close to the situation that one of his strengths would be bringing in commercial partners, with the Jets’ sponsors already in the UK including Pepsi, Dell and Verizon. And his links to Trump stretch back years, having been appointed as an ambassador in 2017 following the former President’s election.
He bought the Jets for £485million in 2000 and a decade later, moved them to MetLife Stadium, the world’s most expensive sporting venue at the time. “Woody knows running a sports club means you must have deep pockets, and big commercial deals help with that,” the source continued.
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“It also means Chelsea can continue to compete at the top of the game and dominate the transfer market.” With the Government effectively in control of the Blues’ destiny, Chelsea must be issued with a license in order to be sold and allow Abramovich to hand over the keys at Stamford Bridge.
The Russian billionaire bought the club for £140million in 2003 before using his wealth as an oligarch to super-charge them to the top of European football. But right now Chelsea are in crisis, with sanctions imposed on Abramovich resulting in issues such as the men’s first team being unable to fly to matches, sell tickets for both home and away matches, and lose a host of sponsors.
Manager Thomas Tuchel has been forced to field questions one the Blues’ future over the past fortnight, as a crucial Champions League clash with Lille looms. “It’s the same situation as in the last days. There is no update or other feeling around [Cobham],” the German tactician told a news conference on Tuesday. “We have to deal with it. There are things to talk about, like how to arrive at games.
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“Things that are normally taken care of, but now we have to stick together, give our opinions, and then we have to find solutions. There are subjects we don’t usually discuss but now we will.” Tuchel added: “A need owner needs to arrive, to be approved, and then own the club. Then we discuss it.
“There is a process how you become an owner in this league, and of course, as I said after the last game, everybody relies on the process and the values which are behind the decisions and allowances to run a club. Did I have a choice to take this role [over the last two weeks]? No, but it is day-by-day.
“Not a lot of people in England are talking at a club. It is something I appreciate that we keep it inside. I try to be honest, give you an insight, and give you information from a coach’s heart. This is what I try and what you can rely on.”
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