Abramovich still 'intimately involved' at Chelsea and has rejected 'bargain' bids

The Russian billionaire has owned the London club since 2003, and chairman Bruce Buck says he remains committed despite the rumours.

Roman Abramovich at last season's Europa League final in Baku.
Roman Abramovich at last season's Europa League final in Baku.
Image: Arne Dedert/DPA/PA Images

ROMAN ABRAMOVICH REMAINS “intimately involved” at Chelsea, says club chairman Bruce Buck, with the Russian set to fend off any investors who believe a “bargain” bid could land control of the Blues.

Questions have been asked of a billionaire owner at Stamford Bridge in recent times.

The elaborate spending which accompanied Abramovich’s arrival in west London back in 2003 has been reined in over recent years, while the 53-year-old attends fewer games.

Part of the problem has been visa issues in Britain, with a man born in Saratov having to take Israeli citizenship in May 2018 in order to remain hands-on in England.

Buck considers that to be another show of commitment from an owner who has seen sale talk rage at regular intervals.

Abramovich has been prepared to listen to offers, but has no desire to part with Chelsea and will remain at the helm for as long as he retains the appetite to keep leading the club forward.

Blues chairman Buck told The Guardian of the takeover rumours: “I have never heard a word from Abramovich: ‘Let’s get this ready for a sale,’ or something.

“Because of the political situation, there are people who think they might want to buy Chelsea at a bargain. We do get inquiries and we really have nothing to say to these people.

“In terms of being involved, in looking at new players, talking about whether to extend players’ contracts… [he] was always intimately involved in that from day one and is just as intimately involved now.”

Abramovich’s hands have been tied at Chelsea of late by a two-window transfer ban imposed by Fifa.

They are hoping to see that embargo lifted on appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas), but have benefitted from being unable to add to their squad.

Buck admits as much, saying of the faith Frank Lampard has placed in promising academy graduates: “The transfer ban has led to more opportunities for the young players.

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“I can’t deny that if there wasn’t a transfer ban we might have splurged out on one or two or three players. So, yes, it was some of that; it was Frank Lampard, the players that were ready, a whole collection of things that resulted in where we are now.

It makes Mr Abramovich very happy, because he is very interested in the academy. I would guess he’s one of the very few owners that have been to lots of academy matches.

Buck added on the future at Stamford Bridge, with it suggested that planning has been put on hold as stadium construction work is delayed indefinitely and Abramovich stays away: “I understand what you are saying and it is hard to disprove it, except to say: ‘Let’s see what happens in the next transfer window.’

“The point I am making – it’s a glib one – if we go out in the next window and spend a zillion, it’s pretty hard to argue that things are on hold.”

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