Chelsea to name LA Dodgers boss Todd Boehly as preferred bidder despite last-gasp £4.25bn bid

LA DODGERS boss Todd Boehly is set to win the battle to own Chelsea – despite a last-gasp bid by Britain’s richest man.

Billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his Ineos group announced they were making a £4.25bn offer to buy out the Blues despite having distanced themselves from ANY interest two months ago.

Ineos promised to be “a British bid, for a British club”, vowing to spend £1.75bn over the next decade on the team and an “organic” rebuild of Stamford Bridge.

But within two hours it emerged that Boehly’s group, which includes Switzerland’s richest man, Hansjorg Wyss and has also enlisted former Chancellor George Osborne, had ALREADY been given preferred status.

The other two consortiums, one led by former Liverpool chairman Sir Martin Broughton – backed by Lewis Hamilton and Lord Seb Coe – and the other by Boston Celtics and Atalanta part-owner Stephen Pagliuca, were informed they were effectively out of the running.

Boehly’s team, though, were told they had been granted a “period of exclusivity” to discuss the final terms and conditions of a takeover package.

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That signals that Abramovich’s brokers, the US-based Raine Group, have determined the Boehly-led bid offers the best deal and guarantees for the future of the club.

If Abramovoich intervenes, that could still change as the Russian and his representatives must agree the new owner even if he is not allowed to take a single penny of the sale price.

But there were no suggestions last night that Raine were willing to entertain such a rapid change of course, with indications that Ineos and Ratcliffe had simply come too late to the party.

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If a deal with Boehly is agreed, it will still need to be accepted by the Premier League, with all parties subject to the owners and directors test, likely to take a minimum of 10 further days to be completed.

And the ultimate sign-off will then need to come from the Government after Abramovoich and his assets, including the club, were placed on the UK sanctions list.

But unless there is another U-turn, or a problem in reaching agreements with the preferred bidder, it seems that Boehly will become the latest US owner in the Prem well before next season starts.

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