What next for Stamford Bridge owner and the west London club he has bankrolled?
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When Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea FC in 2003 they were in trouble. A club £80 million in debt, with a struggling team, and no realistic chance of winning major domestic or European trophies.
After eight years and investing over £500 million pounds of his personal fortune; Chelsea’s history has been re-written. Multiple league and cup triumphs and a home record under ‘The Special One’ that turned Stamford Bridge into a fortress. And only a John Terry missed penalty denied Chelsea the European Cup. A record most Premier League sides would envy.
Abramovich now faces a crossroads in his ownership. Chelsea are fifth in the Premier League and going through a bad run of from by their standards. Particularly the number of goals they are conceding.
At the moment, Chelsea’s squad does not look as deep as Manchester United and Manchester City. And with United scouting for a new owner, and the Glazier family struggling to keep on top of their debt, any sale could also produce extra funds to enable United to become even stronger.
And in Europe, particularly Spain, Barcelona are playing irresistible football, and Real Madrid are developing a strong squad with talented players. Both with be very tough opponents in Europe in the next few years
Chelsea don’t want to be left behind.
He’s also no longer the biggest financial player in the Premier League. Sheikh Mansour has come in and is backing Mancini the way Abramovich himself backed Claudio Ranieri and Jose Mourinho. With fans calling for new signing, will he dig deep once again and fund the signing of more world class talents? He’s already heavily invested in the training ground, and Chelsea as a business is much more stable.
Over the years he’s shown to be a man who loves football, and Chelsea. But injecting hundreds of millions of pounds more of his own cash, keeping the current manager and majority of the squad, or opting for an overhaul, are massive decisions.
Up until now Abramovich has been almost the perfect owner. But is he prepared to regroup; help Chelsea regain the dominance they’ve had in recent seasons, and finally win the European Cup?
After the ownership disaster and courtroom saga at Liverpool, and the unravelling situation at Old Trafford, Premier League clubs need to keep hold of owners who will keep our clubs at the pinnacle of European football. But who will also help to bring on the English talent our country desperately needs to see.
But does he continue to want to show he’s not intimidated by any owner or team in the Premier League? Or will he end his love affair with the club he’s poured so much time, effort and money into?
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