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Chelsea: Race to buy club from Roman Abramovich heats up as new contenders emerge

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Johnson, 74, has spoken to Raine Group, the merchant bank handling the sale of the club, and wants to become the latest NFL owner to buy into the Premier League.

He was Donald Trump’s US ambassador in London from 2017 to 2021 and has been owner of the New York Jets since 2000.

Having lived in London, Johnson is said to be knowledgeable on Chelsea and the Premier League.

Abramovich announced last week that he would be selling Chelsea following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Robert “Woody” Johnson is believed to be preparing a bid to buy Chelsea from Roman Abramovich

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He is believed to want £3billion for the club he bought in 2003 and is eager for a quick sale, with increasing calls from MPs for the Russian billionaire to be sanctioned.

Prospective buyers of Chelsea have been told to make a bid before a set deadline of March 15. That deadline is the same date that Britain will be able to sanction hundreds of individuals if emergency legislation is passed as scheduled, according to the Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.

The group led by LA Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly is rated as the front runner to buy Chelsea and is thought to have already made a takeover proposal.

Chicago Cubs owner Thomas Ricketts has also emerged as a potential bidder, along with British billionaire Nick Candy and Vivek Ranadive – owner of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings.

Johnson would join Arsenal and Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke and the Glazer family, who own Manchester United and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as NFL owners who also own Premier League teams.

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