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Man City owner ´has sights set on Chelsea´

SoccerNews in Bundesliga, English Premier League 23 Jan 2009

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Manchester City owner Sulaiman Al-Fahim is working in conjunction with a group of German investors to put together a bid to buy Premiership rivals Chelsea from Russian tycoon Roman Ambramovich, an Arabian business website reported on Friday.

The report claims the mega-rich Abu Dhabi businessman has met with five potential German partners from Swiss based company Falcon Equity in a bid to wrest the club from Ambramovich who is rumoured to have seen his interest in the club wane.

The Russian, who lost a large chunk of his fortune during the financial crisis, has been less in evidence in his seat at Stamford Bridge this season.

“We have looked before at some European clubs before to see if the numbers add up, and now we are doing the same with Chelsea. I can’t go into more details at this stage,” Falcon Equity boss Holger Heims told Arabianbusiness.com.

“I don’t believe anything is ever not for sale if you come up with the right price. It’s not about trying to buy a football team but about a business,” he added.

Abramovich took over the club in 2003 and has since invested some 500 million pounds (532 million euros) as he turned the Londoners into a European force by first bringing in Jose Mourinho as manager as well as a string of world class players.

They won back to back Premiership titles in 2005 and 2006 and a string of domestic cups but have yet to win the Champions League trophy Abramovich craves, despite coming within a successful penalty kick of glory in the 2008 final against Manchester United in Moscow.

However the club has racked up massive debts and encountered a number of problems on and off the pitch which have fuelled rumours Abramovich is on the verge of pulling the plug.

The reclusive 42-year-old rarely gives interviews and these latest reports are unlikely to inspire the Russian to declare his intentions in public.

“Given that Roman Abamovich has invested over 500 million pounds into the club, it would not be cheap (to buy Chelsea), and with the current credit crunch, nobody wants to be over exposed on one deal. But through a number of investors, there is money available to put together a deal”. said Heims.

The report was immediately denounced by Chelsea assistant coach Ray Wilkins.

“It is no, no,” said Wilkins. “Roman is very keen to continue his support of Chelsea and what Peter Kenyon said last week is the bottom line. It’s not for sale.”

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