Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss says he wants to buy Chelsea.
In an interview with Swiss newspaper Blick, the 86-year-old admitted his interest in purchasing the Stamford Bridge club from Roman Abramovich, but only as part of a consortium.
Chelsea did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.
Abramovich has recently announced plans to give the “stewardship” of the club over to trustees of the club’s charitable foundation.
The Russian billionaire is understood to want to retain his ownership of the club, which he has had since 2003, but is reportedly concerned about possible UK sanctions and subsequent reputational damage.
Wyss says he and three other people received an offer to buy Chelsea from Abramovich, but there is no fixed selling price, according to the Swiss newspaper.
Wyss is quoted in the interview as saying, “I have to wait four to five days now. Abramovich is currently asking far too much. You know, Chelsea owes him two billion. But Chelsea has no money.”
Wyss, who founded medical device firm Synthes USA, insisted in the Blick interview he could only consider a deal for Chelsea with a clutch of investment partners.
“I can well imagine starting at Chelsea with partners. But I have to examine the general conditions first. But what I can already say: I’m definitely not doing something like this alone. If I buy Chelsea, then with a consortium consisting of six to seven investors,” Wyss told the newspaper.
Since Abramovich took over the club in 2003, Chelsea has won 17 major trophies, including two Champions League trophies and five Premier League titles. The Blues are currently Champions League holders after beating Manchester City at the end of last season.
Meanwhile, fellow Premier League club Everton has suspended all commercial sponsorship arrangements with Russian companies owned by Alisher Usmanov with immediate effect on Wednesday.
A statement posted on the club’s website said: “Everyone at Everton remains shocked and saddened by the appalling events unfolding in Ukraine. This tragic situation must end as soon as possible, and any further loss of life must be avoided.
“The players, coaching staff and everyone working at Everton is providing full support to our player Vitalii Mykolenko and his family and will continue to do so.
“The Club can confirm that it has suspended with immediate effect all commercial sponsorship arrangements with the Russian companies USM, Megafon and Yota,” the statement concluded.
USM Holdings sponsors the club’s training ground, Finch Farm, while Megafon sponsors Everton women’s shirts.