Billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe has bid $4 billion to take control of Chelsea FC after Roman Abramovich put the club up for sales following the freezing of his assets.
Sir Ratcliffe is the owner of petrochemicals giant Ineos and has put in the huge bid a fortnight after the official deadline for new bids.
The Telegraph reports Chelsea were close to making a decision on three bids for the club before the bid came in.
Sir Ratcliffe is Britain’s richest man and has been linked several times with a takeover of the club.
The sanctioning of Abramovich put the whole club under threat and 2,000 jobs at risk.
He told The Times:“We put an offer in this morning.”
“We are the only British bid.
“Our motives are simply to try and create a very fine club in London. We have no profit motive because we make our money in other ways.”
The offer from Ratcliffe includes a pledge of an investment of £1.75bn on developing the stadium, team and infrastructure.
This is on top of about £2.5bn for the initial purchase.
The three clubs in the bidding process faced an 11th-hour demand to up their offers by 500 million to meet Abramovich’s £3 billion valuation
Extra cash would be on top of a promise to invest around £1 billion in the Stamford Bridge stadium, as well as a donation to charity as part of Mr Abramovich’s pledge to give away all net proceeds from their sale.
Abramovich had made that promise, as well as a vow to write of £1.5 billion he had loaned the club over the course of his 20 years there, before he was sanctioned by the UK government.
Now, the multi-billionaire – who is thought to have links to Russian leader Vladimir Putin – won’t make a penny.
It is not yet known whether Chelsea will consider the late bid from Sir Ratcliffe, who is based in Monaco and has an estimated wealth of £10 billion.
The bid is not his first foray into sport, having invested in the sailing team Ineos Britannia, cycling’s Team Ineos (formerly Team Sky) and a five-year partnership with the Mercedes Formula 1 team from 2020.
He also owns Swiss football club Lausanne-Sport and French outfit OGC Nice.
He is also a season ticket holder at Manchester United.