Cech Quits Role As Chelsea’s Technical And Performance Advisor 

A file photo of Peter Cech in action for Chelsea.

 

Petr Cech became the latest member of Chelsea’s senior management team to leave the club on Monday following a change in ownership.

Long-serving chairman Bruce Buck and director Marina Granovskaia also departed Stamford Bridge last week in the wake of a takeover from American Todd Boehly’s consortium.

Cech, who won 13 major honours with Chelsea during his playing career as a goalkeeper, became the club’s technical and performance advisor when he retired in 2019.

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“It has been a huge privilege to perform this role at Chelsea for the past three years,” Cech said in a club statement.

“With the club under new ownership, I feel now is the right time for me to step aside.

“I am pleased that the club is now in an excellent position with the new owners, and I am confident of its future success both on and off the pitch.”

Boehly has been installed as Chelsea’s new chairman and taken over as interim sporting director.

“Petr is an important member of the Chelsea family,” said Boehly.

“We understand his decision to step away and thank him for his contributions as an advisor and his commitment to the club and to our community.”

Cech’s departure puts Boehly under even more scrutiny during what is expected to be a hectic transfer window for the Blues.

Chelsea, who finished third in the Premier League last season, have been linked with moves for Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt, Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling and Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele.

The club’s record signing, Romelu Lukaku, is reportedly set to rejoin Inter Milan on loan just one year after making a move in the opposite direction for £98 million ($120 million).

AFP

Tantrums And Tactics Turned Lukaku’s Chelsea Dream Into Nightmare

In this file photo, Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku (R) controls the ball during the English Premier League football match between Brentford and Chelsea at Brentford Community Stadium in London on October 16, 2021. JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP

 

Romelu Lukaku arrived at Chelsea heralding his move as a dream come true, but less than a year later the Belgian striker is set to rejoin Inter Milan as one of the most expensive flops in the Premier League history.

Lukaku was hailed as the final piece of Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea jigsaw when he was signed from Inter Milan for a club record £97.5 million ($119 million) last August.

But everything that could go wrong did go wrong for the 29-year-old in his disastrous second spell with the Blues.

Lukaku’s stock has fallen so far that Tuchel has cut ties with the former Manchester United and Everton player after only one season.

Inter are expected to confirm his return to the San Siro shortly, having negotiated a reported eight-million-euro ($8.4 million) loan fee for Lukaku.

Lukaku is believed to have taken a pay cut such is his desire to leave Stamford Bridge at all costs.

READ ALSO: Four Dead In Russian Military Plane Crash

He ended the season as Chelsea’s top scorer with 15 goals in 44 appearances, but that statistic does not tell the full story of his wretched time in west London.

Lukaku struck only eight times in the Premier League and Chelsea’s new co-owner Todd Boehly was quick to rubber-stamp his impending exit.

He joins Fernando Torres, Andriy Shevchenko, Alvaro Morata, and Chris Sutton as the latest high-profile forward who failed to justify a hefty price tag at Chelsea.

After firing Inter to the Serie A title in 2021, Lukaku’s combination of power and predatory finishing should have been the key to a dominant period for Chelsea, who won the Champions League just months before his signing.

Lukaku billed the move, on a lucrative five-year contract, as an emotional homecoming after previously playing for the club he supported as a boy from 2011 to 2014.

“I’m happy and blessed to be back at this wonderful club. To try to help them win more titles is an amazing feeling,” Lukaku said at the time.

Damning Indictment 

Chelsea’s Brazilian defender Thiago Silva (3L) celebrates with his team mates and supoorters after scoring the second goal during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge in London on January 23, 2022.
JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP

 

Lukaku’s early enthusiasm fuelled four goals in his first four appearances, bullying the Arsenal defence in a display of the power that could overwhelm any opponent if he was in the mood.

However, Lukaku’s attitude quickly turned sour as a run of six matches without a goal raised concerns about his ability to adapt to Tuchel’s system.

Hampered by an ankle injury and a bout of the coronavirus, Lukaku lost his place to Kai Havertz.

Lukaku was unhappy with the way Tuchel was using him, a feeling his former Inter boss Antonio Conte gave voice to when he said the German didn’t “understand” how best to utilise the striker.

While Tuchel must take a share of the blame, Lukaku destroyed his hopes of turning the tide with an incendiary interview in December.

“Physically I am fine. But I’m not happy with the situation at Chelsea. Tuchel has chosen to play with another system,” Lukaku told an Italian television channel.

“I really, genuinely from the bottom of my heart hope to come back to Inter.”

Tuchel was understandably furious and dropped Lukaku for Liverpool’s visit to the Bridge just days after the interview was aired.

Lukaku was forced to apologise to Chelsea and the club’s fans.

When he eventually got back in the side, his body language was dreadful as he moped through matches and argued with team-mate Hakim Ziyech during a game against Brighton.

Lukaku’s wretched season reached breaking point at Crystal Palace in February when he broke the record for the lowest number of touches (seven) by an outfield player in a Premier League match.

“It’s not about the system. For him, it changes nothing. The data is out there and the data speaks a certain language,” Tuchel said in a damning indictment.

After four months without a Premier League goal, Lukaku scored three in two games towards the end of the season, earning a place in the FA Cup final team against Liverpool.

Yet Lukaku’s limp display as Chelsea lost on penalties at Wembley was a fitting epitaph to his turbulent year.

AFP

Chelsea’s Lukaku Set For Inter Milan Return On Loan

Chelsea's Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Brighton and Hove Albion at Stamford Bridge in London on December 29, 2021. Glyn KIRK / AFP
Chelsea’s Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring his team’s first goal during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Brighton and Hove Albion at Stamford Bridge in London on December 29, 2021. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku will rejoin Inter Milan on a one-year loan deal after a disappointing spell with the Premier League club, according to reports on Tuesday.

Inter are reported to have negotiated an eight million euro ($8.4 million) loan fee to sign Lukaku, who reportedly agreed a pay cut to leave Stamford Bridge.

The Belgian joined Chelsea in a club-record £97.5 million deal before the start of last season, claiming the transfer was an emotional return home after he played for the club from 2011 to 2014.

But, after scoring four goals in his first four appearances, the 29-year-old’s second stint with Chelsea quickly turned sour.

READ ALSO: Mane Poses In Bayern Shirt During Munich Medical Check

Lukaku ended this season as Chelsea’s top scorer with 15 goals, but the former Manchester United and Everton player scored only eight times in the league.

He netted only three times in his final 15 top-flight appearances as he failed to repay his hefty transfer fee.

A controversial interview with Italian TV in December featured Lukaku admitting he was unhappy with the way he was used by Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel and hinting he was already thinking about leaving.

Lukaku, who won the Serie A title with Inter in 2021, was briefly dropped by Tuchel following his outburst and was forced to apologise to Chelsea and the club’s fans in January.

Tuchel’s side finished third in the Premier League and won the Club World Cup, but they were beaten by Liverpool in both the FA Cup and League Cup finals.

Lukaku is thought to have pushed for the move back to Inter and Chelsea’s new co-owner Todd Boehly has put an immediate stamp on his tenure by giving the green light to the star’s exit.

Once Lukaku’s move is officially complete, the Blues will be able to turn attention to seeking a replacement, as well as strengthening in other areas of the squad.

Chelsea are keen on Robert Lewandowski despite the Poland striker’s desire to leave Bayern Munich for Barcelona.

Barcelona’s financial issues could open the door for Chelsea to pounce on Lewandowski’s unsettled situation.

But Lukaku’s impending departure may point Tuchel towards a more fluid approach without a clear focal-point striker.

Chelsea hold strong interest in Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling, with the England forward open to leaving the Premier League champions with just one year left on his contract.

Tuchel also hopes to complete the signing of Sevilla’s French defender Jules Kounde.

AFP

Boehly Eyes Chelsea Success After Sealing Takeover

Chelsea's prospective US owner Todd Boehly comes onto the pitch to join the lap of honour after the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Watford at Stamford Bridge in London on May 22, 2022. Glyn KIRK / AFP
Chelsea’s US owner Todd Boehly comes onto the pitch to join the lap of honour after the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Watford at Stamford Bridge in London on May 22, 2022. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Chelsea’s new owner Todd Boehly promised to build on the team’s “remarkable history of success” after the American completed his takeover of the Premier League club on Monday.

Boehly’s consortium agreed a deal to buy Chelsea from Roman Abramovich for £4.25 billion ($5.3 billion) on May 7 and the sale has now been officially rubber-stamped.

“We are honoured to become the new custodians of Chelsea Football Club. We’re all in, 100 percent, every minute of every match,” Boehly told Chelsea’s website.

Boehly’s takeover ends Abramovich’s 19-year reign as Chelsea owner after the Russian put the club up for sale in March.

READ ALSO: ‘My Bayern Story Has Come To An End’ – Lewandowski

Abramovich was sanctioned by the British government for his alleged links to Russian President Vladimir Putin following the invasion of Ukraine.

Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Boehly has set his sights on emulating Chelsea’s success during the Abramovich era, which included five Premier League titles and two Champions League crowns among 19 major trophies.

“Our vision as owners is clear: we want to make the fans proud,” Boehly said.

“Along with our commitment to developing the youth squad and acquiring the best talent, our plan of action is to invest in the club for the long-term and build on Chelsea’s remarkable history of success.”

Chelsea had been operating under a special government licence which would have expired on May 31 if Boehly had been unable to seal the purchase.

That would have put Chelsea’s future in doubt, but they are now able to look forward to next season as the Boehly regime takes the keys to Stamford Bridge.

Boehly’s group needed approval from the Premier League, the British government and Portuguese authorities — Abramovich has Portuguese citizenship — before the sale could be completed.

“I personally want to thank ministers and officials in the British Government, and the Premier League, for all their work in making this happen,” Boehly said.

Boehly fought off 11 rival bidders to buy Chelsea in what is a record sale for a sports club.

He will “share joint control and equal governance of the club” with his main partner Clearlake Capital investment firm.

Boehly is Chelsea’s controlling owner, but will work closely with Clearlake co-founders Behdad Eghbali and Jose Feliciano.

‘Even more success’

Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and US tycoon Mark Walter are the other main members of the consortium.

“We are excited to commit the resources to continue Chelsea’s leading role in English and global football, and as an engine for football talent development,” Eghbali and Feliciano said in a joint statement.

“We also want to thank the authorities for all their work throughout the process.

“As pioneers in sports and media investing, we are thrilled to partner with Todd and the rest of the consortium to meaningfully grow the club as a global platform.

“Together, we will expand the club’s investment across infrastructure, technology, and sports science to support the incredible Chelsea football and commercial teams – all with the goal of leveraging this growth to fuel even more on-pitch success.”

Boehly’s arrival in west London will turn the page on Chelsea’s remarkable transformation from underachievers to serial winners under Abramovich.

Crucially, the takeover completion should give Blues boss Thomas Tuchel the financial support to mount a challenge to Premier League champions Manchester City.

Chelsea finished third in the Premier League this term, ensuring they qualified for next season’s Champions League.

Tuchel’s side also reached the FA Cup and League Cup finals — losing both matches to Liverpool on penalties — and won the Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup.

Chelsea were unable to sign players or offer contracts to existing stars because of the sanctions on Abramovich.

They are set to lose Antonio Rudiger to Real Madrid on a free transfer, while Andreas Christensen is set to join Barcelona when his contract expires in the close-season.

After Abramovich halted plans to redevelop Chelsea’s stadium several years ago, the new owners “are committed to investing in key areas that will extend and enhance Chelsea’s competitiveness, including the redevelopment of Stamford Bridge”.

Chelsea Sale To Boehly Consortium To Be Completed On Monday

Chelsea's prospective US owner Todd Boehly comes onto the pitch to join the lap of honour after the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Watford at Stamford Bridge in London on May 22, 2022. Glyn KIRK / AFP
Chelsea’s prospective US owner Todd Boehly comes onto the pitch to join the lap of honour after the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Watford at Stamford Bridge in London on May 22, 2022. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

Chelsea said on Saturday that the sale of the Premier League club to a consortium led by Todd Boehly, the co-owner of baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, is expected to be completed by Monday.

The British government and the Premier League have approved the £4.25 billion ($5.3 billion) takeover.

Chelsea were put on the market in early March, days before owner Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the British government following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

READ ALSO: Liverpool And Real Madrid Ready For Champions League Final Rematch

The British government describes Abramovich as part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle. Abramovich is also the target of European Union sanctions.

“Chelsea Football Club can confirm that a final and definitive agreement was entered into last night to sell the club to the Todd Boehly/Clearlake Capital consortium,” the club said in a statement.

“It is expected that the transaction will be completed on Monday.”

The consortium is led by Boehly, but California-based private equity firm Clearlake Capital would own a majority of the shares in the club.

Other investors include US billionaire Mark Walter, who is Boehly’s co-owner at the Dodgers, and Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss.

The Portuguese government has also ratified the sale. Portugal’s approval was required because Abramovich holds a passport for the European nation.

Courtois Ready For Penalties Against Liverpool: ‘It’s A Moment To Shine’

In this file photo, Real Madrid’s Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois warms up before the start of the Spanish league football match between Real Madrid CF and Cadiz CF, at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on December 19, 2021. JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

 

Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has said he will not be afraid to take a penalty if their Champions League final against Liverpool goes the distance on Saturday.

Courtois has an impressive record saving penalties this season, having stopped three of his five faced, including one from Lionel Messi against Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of the last 16.

It proved a crucial moment as Madrid came back from 1-0 down in the second leg to win the tie 3-2.

The Belgian was also instrumental in Madrid’s most recent penalty shoot-out victory in 2020, as he dived to palm away Thomas Partey’s shot in the final of the Spanish Super Cup against Atletico Madrid. Real Madrid won their last Champions League final that went to penalties, also against Atletico in 2016.

Courtois said he will be doing his homework on Liverpool’s most likely takers while the 30-year-old said he is also ready to step up if required.

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“I remember in pre-season with Chelsea against PSG I scored one and in the Community Shield against Arsenal I missed one,” said Courtois. “(Antonio) Conte put me there because he knew I could shoot well, but obviously standing on the spot, in an important moment, is different.

“I wouldn’t be one of the first five (takers), for sure, but maybe after, if you need to shoot, you have to shoot. I don’t fear it. It’s a moment to shine.

“We won one (shoot-out) against Atletico Madrid in the Super Cup a few years ago when I saved one penalty. This season I have saved three.

“You study ahead. Against Chelsea we had two penalties and you study them, because you can see the similarities. Hopefully it will not come back to that but if it does, I will be ready.”

Mohamed Salah has already said he wants revenge for their loss to Real Madrid in the 2018 final, when two errors by Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius gifted Madrid the win.

Liverpool signed Alisson Becker a few weeks later for a world-record 75 million euros and the Brazilian has been a revelation ever since.

“He is a great goalkeeper,” said Courtois. “The times I have played against him in England and with Real, he is one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

“He has great quality and has saved Liverpool a lot of times. Nowadays you need a good defence and goalkeeper and at the other end you need strikers who score you goals, that is what takes you far.”

“If you go back 15 or 20 years it was really different,” Courtois added. “To be a goalkeeper now you have to be a playmaker from the back, you have to come out as a ‘libero’ to (meet) the ball in behind and run out and take it.

“They expect you to be calm on the ball and to make decisive passes but obviously you don’t have someone behind you that can save you because you are the last man.

“You know that sometimes there can be a mistake and I hope it is not coming for me. I don’t want to wish that on any goalkeeper.”

Real Madrid have shown their magic touch again in the Champions League this season, after staging three consecutive comebacks against PSG, Chelsea and then Manchester City to reach the final.

“You just have to see the games we played at home against Paris, Chelsea and City. The moment we equalise or score that goal, the reaction of the other team – you can see that they know what can happen,” Courtois said.

“You can see at 1-1 against City, the reaction of the players. That is what makes Madrid so special, that is why it is so amazing and people talk so much about the history of Real Madrid.”

Real Madrid will be going for a record-extending 14th European Cup while Liverpool will be chasing their seventh, to pull level with AC Milan as the second most successful club in the competition’s history.

Liverpool have already won the League Cup and FA Cup in England this season.

“We don’t have to go crazy because it’s a game that could go back and forth,” said Courtois. “We have to be clear about how we want to play and not play their game. We have to make them play our game, that’s the important thing.”

AFP

Chelsea Sale Gets Green Light From UK Government

File photo of Chelsea. Ian KINGTON / AFP

 

The British government announced Wednesday it had approved Todd Boehly’s £4.25 billion ($5.3 billion) purchase of Chelsea football club from the sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich.

The Premier League club was put on the market in early March, days before Abramovich was sanctioned by Britain following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The billionaire, also the target of European Union sanctions, was described by the UK government as part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

Chelsea have been operating under the terms of a strict government licence that expires on May 31, meaning they have been unable to renew contracts for existing players and have faced a transfer ban.

Completion of the takeover has been a lengthy process due to concerns over the potential for Abramovich to profit from the sale of the London club.

But the Premier League gave the green light on Tuesday evening and hours later ministers said they would permit Chelsea’s sale.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, whose brief includes sport, tweeted: “Given the sanctions we placed on those linked to Putin and the bloody invasion of Ukraine, the long-term future of the club can only be secured under a new owner.

“We are satisfied the proceeds of the sale will not benefit Roman Abramovich or other sanctioned individuals.”

A consortium led by Boehly, a co-owner of baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, beat off competition to agree a record deal to buy the club earlier this month.

At one stage it seemed close to collapse over concerns proceeds would not reach good causes as promised by outgoing owner Abramovich.

The Russian, who bought Chelsea in 2003, denied he had asked for his £1.5 billion loan to the club be repaid when the sale was concluded.

The government said in its statement it was satisfied that the “full proceeds” of the sale would not benefit Abramovich or any other sanctioned individual.

“We will now begin the process of ensuring the proceeds of the sale are used for humanitarian causes in Ukraine, supporting victims of the war,” it added.

Of the total investment, £2.5 billion will be deposited into a frozen UK bank account to be donated to a charitable foundation for the benefit of victims of the war in Ukraine.

The new owners will commit £1.75 billion in further investment “for the benefit of the club”.

– Transfer budget –

Former Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon told the BBC that the end of the saga would be a “complete relief” for everyone connected to the club.

“We’ve got a very short transfer window and plans will have been made before,” he said.

“They have already lost some players through not being able to re-sign them so I think everybody — the squad and the management — will be relieved they can get on with the job they’re employed to do.”

Thomas Tuchel’s side, who won the Champions League last season, finished third in the Premier League — 19 points behind champions Manchester City — and were beaten by Liverpool in the finals of the FA Cup and League Cup.

The German manager is set to lose key defenders Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen on free transfers to Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Tuchel, in an interview on Chelsea’s website conducted before the sale was confirmed, said the club had been operating at a “huge disadvantage” and would need to be nimble in the transfer market.

Reports on Wednesday said the former Paris Saint-Germain boss would be handed a £200 million transfer kitty.

Chelsea have been transformed since Abramovich bought them in 2003 for just £140 million, winning 19 major trophies in his 19-year reign — including five Premier League titles and two Champions League triumphs.

Boehly also has a track record of delivering sporting success with the Dodgers.

Thanks to heavy investment in players, they have made the MLB (Major League Baseball) playoffs every season for the past nine years and won their first World Series for 32 years in 2020.

UK Government Authorises Sale Of Chelsea FC

A sign is pictured outside Stamford Bridge, home ground of Chelsea football club, in London on May 24, 2022.(Photo by CARLOS JASSO / AFP)

 

 

The UK government announced Wednesday it had given the green light to Todd Boehly’s proposed takeover of Chelsea football club from the sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich.

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Nadine Dorries said she had issued a licence permitting the deal late on Tuesday, shortly after it won approval from the Premier League.

“We are satisfied the proceeds of the sale will not benefit Roman Abramovich or other sanctioned individuals,” Dorries tweeted.

“Given the sanctions we placed on those linked to (Vladimir) Putin and the bloody invasion of Ukraine, the long-term future of the club can only be secured under a new owner,” she said.

A consortium led by Boehly, a co-owner of baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, had already agreed a record £4.25 billion ($5.3 billion) deal to buy the Premier League club from Abramovich on May 7.

The Premier League said its approval hinged on the government sale licence “and the satisfactory completion of the final stages of the transaction”.

Officials wanted everything completed on Tuesday so Chelsea could meet all registration deadlines for next season’s football competitions.

Abramovich put Chelsea on the market in early March, just before he was sanctioned by the British government following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Completing the purchase has been a lengthy process due to government concerns over the potential for Abramovich to profit from the sale.

The total value of the deal smashes the previous record for the sale of a sports team — $2.4 billion for the New York Mets baseball franchise in 2020.

Chelsea have been forced to operate under a special licence from the government since Abramovich, who bought the club in 2003, was sanctioned.

Abramovich, who the European Union also imposed sanctions on, was described by the UK government as part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

The sale of the 2021 European champions brings the curtain down on 19 years of nearly unbroken success under the 55-year-old Abramovich, who has overseen five Premier League titles and two Champions League triumphs.

Chelsea finished third in the 2021/22 Premier League season and so gained a place in Europe’s Champions League, the continent’s leading club football competition.

The Blues also reached the finals of English football’s League Cup and FA Cup, only to lose both matches to Liverpool in penalty shoot-outs.

Premier League Approve Boehly’s Takeover of Chelsea

File photo of Chelsea. Ian KINGTON / AFP

 

Todd Boehly’s proposed takeover of Chelsea moved a step closer to completion on Tuesday when the Premier League board announced it had approved his purchase of the London club.

A consortium led by Boehly, a co-owner of baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, had already agreed a £4.25 billion ($5.3 billion) deal to buy the Premier League club from owner Roman Abramovich on May 7.

And a Premier League statement said Tuesday: “The Premier League Board has today approved the proposed takeover of Chelsea Football Club by the Todd Boehly/Clearlake Consortium.

“The purchase remains subject to the (British) Government issuing the required sale licence and the satisfactory completion of the final stages of the transaction.”

Russian billionaire Abramovich put Chelsea on the market in early March, just before he was sanctioned by the British government following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Completing the purchase has been a lengthy process due to government concerns over the potential for Abramovich to profit from the sale.

There had been fears the takeover would collapse because of the £1.5 billion debt owed by Chelsea’s parent company, Fordstam Ltd, to Camberley International Investments, a Jersey-based company with suspected links to Abramovich.

Abramovich, who has said he has not asked for his loan to be repaid, is understood to have provided confirmation to the government that his associate, Demetris Ioannides, has resigned from the trust owning Camberley International.

Earlier on Tuesday, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the government were working with “international partners” to get the deal done.

The Premier League statement added: “The board has applied the Premier League’s Owners’ and Directors’ Test (OADT) to all prospective directors, and undertaken the necessary due diligence.

“The members of the Consortium purchasing the club are affiliates of the Clearlake Capital Group, L.P., Todd Boehly, Hansjorg Wyss and Mark Walter.

“Chelsea FC will now work with the relevant Governments to secure the necessary licences to complete the takeover.”

Chelsea have been forced to operate under a special licence from the UK government since Abramovich, who bought the club in 2003, was sanctioned.

Under the terms of the licence, Chelsea were unable to offer new contracts to existing players or sign players from other clubs.

The sale of the European champions brings the curtain down on 19 years of nearly unbroken success under the 55-year-old Abramovich, who has overseen five Premier League titles and two Champions League triumphs.

Antonio Rudiger Bids Chelsea Goodbye

Chelsea’s German defender Antonio Rudiger (C) celebrates scoring his team’s third goal with Chelsea’s German striker Timo Werner (R) during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, on September 19, 2021. JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP

 

Antonio Rudiger has penned down his final farewell note to the Chelsea faithful ahead of his move to Real Madrid.

The stalwart German defender who signed from Roma in 2017 for a fee of £29 million won the FA Cup in his first season, followed by the UEFA Europa League in his second season, and the UEFA Champions League in 2021.

Discussions between the centre-back’s representatives and Chelsea had taken place in January but, no new, improved official offer was tabled.

Real Madrid emerged favourites to secure Rudiger’s services on a pre-contract agreement – after successful; talks with Rudiger’s representatives.

The 29-year-old on Wednesday confirmed his exit from the club in an open letter to Chelsea fans titled “Dear Chelsea.”

Ngolo Kante AFP

 

“I don’t like goodbyes. But I will try to make this one special, from the heart,” Rudiger opened with.

Rudiger was full of praise for his fellow teammate Ngolo Kante, whom he described as “one of the nicest guys in football.”

“Before I came to Chelsea, I had heard all the beautiful stories about him. They said he is always smiling. They said he still drives an old Mini Cooper. They said he never raises his voice. But you know how it goes in football, right? No one is really like that. There is too much pressure, too much disappointment. We are all human. No one is that cool all the time. It’s impossible.,” he said.

“Then I met N’Golo.”

Rudiger also cited Thomas Tuchel as instrumental in his resurgence at the club also thanking the German for his belief in him.

Chelsea’s German pairing of Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Rudiger (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP

 

“When Tuchel came in as manager and gave me a chance, it was a new life for me. Actually, he did something right away that I think a lot of managers could learn from. It had nothing to do with tactics. He just came up to me and he said, “Toni, tell me about yourself.”

“He wanted to know where my aggression and hunger came from, and I told him about growing up in Berlin-Neukölln and how I used to play so hard on the concrete pitches that all the older kids started calling me Rambo.”

Speaking on his failed contract situation at the club, Rudiger said, “Unfortunately, my contract negotiations had already started to get difficult last fall. Business is business, but the situation becomes complicated when you don’t hear any news from the club from August to January.”

“After the first offer, there was a long gap of just nothing. We’re not robots, you know? You cannot wait for months with so much uncertainty about your future. Obviously, no one saw the sanctions coming, but in the end, other big clubs were showing interest, and I had to make a decision. I will leave it at that, because business aside, I have nothing bad to say about this club. “

“Chelsea will always be in my heart. London will always be my home. I came here alone, and now I have a wife and two beautiful kids. I also have a new brother for life named Kova. I have an FA Cup, a Europa League and a Champions League medal. And of course, I have hundreds of memories that will stay with me forever.”

Liverpool Beat Chelsea On Penalties To Lift FA Cup

Liverpool's English midfielder Jordan Henderson lifts the trophy as Liverpool players celebrate after winning the English FA Cup final football match between Chelsea and Liverpool, at Wembley stadium, in London, on May 14, 2022.
Liverpool’s English midfielder Jordan Henderson lifts the trophy as Liverpool players celebrate after winning the English FA Cup final football match between Chelsea and Liverpool, at Wembley stadium, in London, on May 14, 2022.

 

Liverpool held their nerve to win the FA Cup for the first time since 2006 after a dramatic penalty shoot-out against Chelsea as the quadruple chasers kept their history bid alive on Saturday.

Jurgen Klopp’s side won 6-5 on penalties at Wembley as Greek defender Kostas Tsimikas was the unlikely hero with the decisive kick after Alisson Becker kept out Mason Mount’s effort.

A hard-fought final had finished a 0-0 draw after extra-time, setting the stage for a nerve-jangling shoot-out that featured misses by Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta and Sadio Mane, whose shot was saved by Edouard Mendy when he had a chance to clinch the trophy.

For the second time this season, Liverpool emerged victorious against Chelsea on penalties, having already beaten them 11-10 following another 0-0 draw in the League Cup final in February.

READ ALSO: Bayern Munich Confirm Lewandowski Wants To Leave

Liverpool’s triumph keeps them in the hunt to become the first English team to win all four major trophies in a single season.

With two prizes already secured, the Reds will hope for a slip from Premier League leaders Manchester City, who are three points clear of them in the title race with two games left for both teams.

Even if Liverpool are unable to win a second English title in three seasons, they could still cap an astonishing campaign by winning the Champions League final against Real Madrid in Paris on May 28.

With that ambition in mind, Klopp’s only concern as he danced jubilantly in front of the Liverpool supporters amid a swirling mist of red flare smoke was whether his team will be at full strength against Real.

Liverpool lost Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk to injuries that could rule them out of their last two Premier League games next week and will spark fears about their ability to recover in time for the Champions League final.

Liverpool have won both domestic cups in the same season for the first time since 2000-01, with Klopp getting his hands on the famous old trophy for the first time.

For Chelsea, it was a painful third successive FA Cup final defeat after previous losses to Leicester and Arsenal.

Mentality monsters

Liverpool made a blistering start as they swarmed forward in a blur of swift passes and relentless pressing.

Diaz should have put Liverpool ahead after accelerating onto a sublime pass from Trent Alexander-Arnold, who caressed the ball through Chelsea’s defence with the outside of his boot.

Diaz’s tame shot was saved by Mendy, but the ball was still rolling towards goal until Trevoh Chalobah scrambled back to hack clear at the last moment.

With Tuchel gesticulating furiously on the touchline, Chelsea dug in and finally turned back the red tide.

Mount led their first serious raid, crossing for Christian Pulisic to clip his shot just wide.

Pulisic carried the fight to Liverpool again moments later, slipping his pass to Alonso, who should have scored but took a poor first touch and scuffed his shot straight at Alisson Becker.

Diogo Jota wasted a golden chance to give Liverpool the lead soon after his introduction as Salah’s replacement, the Portugal forward volleying over from Andrew Robertson’s cross.

Chelsea were on the offensive after the interval and Pulisic’s strike was well saved by Alisson before Alonso’s free-kick cannoned off the bar.

But Klopp’s self-proclaimed “mentality monsters” haven’t come this close to a quadruple without remarkable fortitude.

They wrestled back the momentum and Diaz clipped the outside of the post before Robertson volleyed against the woodwork.

In the spring heat, and with both teams having played at least 60 games in a marathon season, it was no surprise fatigue became a factor in a tame extra period that never looked like producing a winner.

Tuchel had sent on his penalty-saving specialist keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga ahead of the League Cup final shoot-out in a move that backfired.

Tuchel stuck with Mendy this time, but the result was still the same.

Klopp admitted Liverpool’s remarkable season would be a disappointment if they only finished with the League Cup, but he no longer has to worry about that.

 

AFP

Chelsea Blow Two-Goal Lead Against Resilient Wolves

Wolverhampton Wanderers' English defender Conor Coady celebrates scoring the team's second goal during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Stamford Bridge in London on May 7, 2022. JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP
Wolverhampton Wanderers’ English defender Conor Coady celebrates scoring the team’s second goal during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Stamford Bridge in London on May 7, 2022. JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP

 

Chelsea blew a two-goal lead in front of prospective owner Todd Boehly as Wolves snatched a dramatic 2-2 draw, while Watford were relegated from the Premier League after defeat at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

The consortium led by Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Boehly has won the battle to buy Chelsea in a £4.25 billion ($5.2 billion) deal.

Roman Abramovich put the west London club on the market in early March, just days before he was sanctioned by the British government following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

READ ALSO: What Next For Chelsea After Boehly Group Win Battle To Succeed Abramovich

After a lengthy bidding process involving several groups, Boehly and his fellow investors were picked by Raine Group, the New York bank overseeing the sale.

Boehly’s consortium includes a fellow co-owner of the Dodgers baseball franchise, Mark Walter, Swiss billionaire Hansjoerg Wyss and US investment firm Clearlake Capital.

They still need to satisfy the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ test and gain approval from the UK government, but Chelsea expect the sale to be completed by the end of the month.

After fears for Chelsea’s future were sparked by the protracted sale, Blues boss Thomas Tuchel welcomed the takeover, saying: “It gives us an outlook if terms are agreed and hopefully the process will be streamlined and go forward as soon as possible. Good news.”

But Tuchel’s third-placed team were unable to celebrate the deal with a victory as they squandered an opportunity to move closer to qualifying for next season’s Champions League via a top-four finish.

Romelu Lukaku, who has endured a wretched season following his £97 million club record move from Inter Milan, converted a VAR-awarded penalty after he was fouled by Romain Saiss in the 56th minute.

The Chelsea striker followed his first Premier League goal since December 29 with another two minutes later.

This time he produced a fine 20-yard finish from Christian Pulisic’s cross as Boehly rose from his seat to celebrate.

But Wolves forward Francisco Trincao set up a tense finish when he hammered home from the edge of the area in the 79th minute.

And Chelsea cracked deep into stoppage time as Conor Coady nodded a close-range equaliser to leave Boehly shaking his head in frustration.

Chelsea are six points ahead of fifth-placed Tottenham, who play their game in hand at quadruple-chasing Liverpool later on Saturday.

Watford go down

At Selhurst Park, Watford needed a win to keep alive their faint hopes of avoiding the drop, but Wilfried Zaha’s first-half penalty was enough to condemn them to relegation.

With three games still to play, second-bottom Watford are certain to drop into the Championship 12 months after winning promotion as second-tier runners-up.

The Hornets will head into the close-season looking for a new boss after their current manager Roy Hodgson confirmed he would not be extending his short-term contract.

Hodgson, 74, was unable to rescue Watford after replacing the sacked Claudio Ranieri in January to become the club’s third manager this term following Xisco’s dismissal in October.

Watford were heading for relegation in the 31st minute when Hassane Kamara handled Michael Olise’s header, conceding a penalty that Zaha converted for his 14th goal this season.

Burnley wasted a chance to boost their survival chances as Aston Villa cruised to a 3-1 victory at Turf Moor.

Caretaker boss Mike Jackson saw Burnley beaten for the first time in five games since replacing the sacked Sean Dyche.

Former Burnley striker Danny Ings put Villa ahead in the seventh minute with a composed finish from Emiliano Buendia’s pass.

Buendia slotted home from Lucas Digne’s cross in the 31st minute.

Ollie Watkins scored Villa’s third with a diving header in the 52nd minute and although Maxwel Cornet struck for the hosts in stoppage time, Burnley sit perilously just two points above the bottom three.

Burnley would be back in the relegation zone if third-bottom Everton beat Leicester on Sunday and fourth-bottom Leeds avoid defeat at Arsenal.

Brentford crushed Southampton 3-0 at their Community Stadium, with the goals coming from Pontus Jansson, Yoane Wissa and Kristoffer Ajer.

AFP