Roman Abramovich's tenure as Chelsea owner means the Premier League might have to implement tougher testing for potential owners, according to the competition's chief executive Richard Masters.

Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003 and oversaw a transformative period for the club, who have since won five Premier League titles and triumphed five times in the FA Cup, three times in the EFL Cup and the Champions League twice.

However, Abramovich was forced to put the Blues up for sale earlier this year when, after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the UK government sanctioned the Russian oligarch.

Todd Boehly, who also co-owns the Los Angeles Dodgers, led a consortium that eventually bought the club in May, bringing an end to Abramovich's spell at the helm after 19 years.

"It's difficult to say now, with hindsight, that it's all been good, given what has transpired over the last six and a half months," Masters said when asked for his thoughts on Abramovich's time as a club owner.

"I think if you ask Chelsea fans, they would give you a different answer."

Masters suggested that English football, and in particular the top flight, must now improve on the controls and safeguards they have in place when granting would-be owners permission to purchase clubs.

"I think the situation we ended with has given the sport some challenges we've got to meet," he added.

"Ultimately, there wasn't an owners' and directors' test when Abramovich took ownership of Chelsea, so I suppose the answer to the question is, had there been that in place what would have happened and what safeguards we need to build in for the future?

"[There is] a rolling test, yes. Prevention is better than cure, isn't it? There wasn't then, there is now, it's going to change and part of that actually is probably going to be the strengthening of the annual test."

Boehly's purchase of Chelsea went through just before the UK government's deadline of May 31, and Masters explained there was genuine concern over the club's status.

"You're in unique circumstances, nothing like this has happened before," he said.

"There was obviously a genuine concern the sale wouldn't take place in the timeframe that was available.

"That didn't happen thankfully. A lot of people worked extremely hard on it at the club's end, the government's end and [the] Premier League's end to make sure things were running as smoothly as possible. We're very pleased that it happened, obviously."

Masters' comments come on the eve of the new Premier League season, with Chelsea in action against Everton on Saturday.

Thomas Tuchel acknowledged he did not expect to outlast Roman Abramovich and influential board members at Chelsea, while Romelu Lukaku made it "very clear he wanted to leave".

Chelsea have undergone wholesale change at Stamford Bridge since Todd Boehly's consortium acquired the club, with numerous departures at the top of the hierarchy.

Owner Abramovich, hampered by the sanctions imposed on him following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, ended a 19-year spell with the Premier League side, while Bruce Buck stepped down as chairman.

Director and chief decision-maker Marina Granovskaia is also set to leave after 12 years, and technical and performance advisor Petr Cech was another departure as the boardroom reshuffle continued.

Granovskaia will remain available to Boehly, who is acting as interim sporting director and chairman, for the duration of the current transfer window to help with the transitional period.

The exodus in the Chelsea boardroom has led head coach Tuchel to be more involved with transfer activity, but the German hopes that he will not be required to participate as actively in negotiations in the longer term.

"It is intense," Tuchel said of the new era at Chelsea. "Everybody needs to find their role and have to adjust and adapt, of course.

"[My job] has changed a lot at the moment. I could never have imagined that I stayed longer at the club than Roman, Marina and Petr. 

"This was impossible so now with Marina not in charge and Petr not here anymore it has changed a lot. It's not my favourite thing to do and in the long run the focus has to be on coaching because it is why I am here.

"But, at the moment, of course my help is needed and wanted, and it is necessary that I step up and take the responsibility. 

"I am in contact with Todd directly on a daily basis and sometimes more than once on a daily basis because we are aware that we have a club in transition and change.

"My concern is for the team to be competitive and for this we have to invest a lot of time and we need to be hands on. There is no other way. 

"We compete not only against the best teams, but also against the best managers. We need to be competitive and replace big players and infuse quality.

"I think it's important for everybody at Cobham to take a little bit more responsibility, not only for me."

Tuchel has lost numerous key leaders from his side, with Antonio Rudiger going to Real Madrid and Andreas Christensen to Barcelona, where Cesar Azpilicueta could reportedly join as well.

Lukaku was another departure, sent out on loan to Inter, just a season after Chelsea spent a club-record £97.5million to bring the striker back to London.

The Belgium international labelled his return to Chelsea as a "mistake" on Thursday, and Tuchel suggested it was Lukaku who was intent on returning to Italy for the 2022-23 season.

"There has never been a meeting where I said 'I want this guy out'," said Tuchel. "Never. I was always clear – if he stays we will do everything to put him in a better place, to put him in better shape, to improve my style of coaching, our style of playing, to make him a better fit. 

"It was always a possibility he stayed, but Romelu made it very clear he wanted to leave and the owners took the decision to make the decision straight away.

"Disappointed is the wrong word. I don't know a better word in English. It feels like I take it personally – it's never personal. I am not happy that we couldn't bring more out of him.

"Maybe it would have just taken a bit more time. A bit more fitness, a bit more adaptation in our game. Who knows? But we will not find out.

"Once Romelu gave his clear opinion on the situation and there was a solution on the table, the owners made their choice and had my blessing."

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has confirmed Chelsea are no longer subject to UK government sanctions following the club's sale to a consortium led by Todd Boehly.

The government has also announced it has received assurances the takeover will not financially benefit Roman Abramovich or any other individual targeted by sanctions in the aftermath of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

On Monday, the Blues announced the conclusion of the long-running takeover saga surrounding the club, with a group led by Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Boehly and involving Clearlake Capital acquiring the Stamford Bridge outfit.

Chelsea were originally granted a special licence to allow them to finish the 2021-22 season after measures against Abramovich were announced in March.

But with the Russian having officially concluded his time at Stamford Bridge, the club is now free to conduct business without restrictions once more.

"Today's change of ownership marks a new chapter for Chelsea Football Club in the best interests of its fans, the club and the wider football community," a government spokesperson said.

"The club is now no longer subject to the sanctions imposed on Roman Abramovich, an individual who has enabled Putin's brutal and barbaric invasion of Ukraine.  

"Since sanctions were imposed on Abramovich on 10 March, we have worked tirelessly to ensure the club can continue to play football, while maintaining the integrity of our sanctions regime. 

"Chelsea's long-term future is now secured, and binding commitments have been received which ensure sanctioned individuals cannot financially benefit from the sale. The government retains control to ensure that this is the case.

"We have begun the process of ensuring the proceeds are used for humanitarian purposes in Ukraine that result from Russian aggression. Further details will be set out in due course.

"I personally want to thank ministers and officials in the British government, and the Premier League, for all their work in making this happen."

 

A consortium led by Todd Boehy and Clearlake Capital completed their takeover of Chelsea on Monday.

The Premier League club announced on Saturday that the deal was officially set to go through at the start of this week.

Chelsea have now confirmed that they are under new ownership almost three months after Roman Abramovich decided to sell up.

An ownership group led by Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjorg Wyss brokered a deal to buy the Blues for £4.25billion this month.

The Portuguese government last week approved the sale of the London club, a green light that was required as Abramovich has Portuguese citizenship.

A statement released by Chelsea on Monday said: "Under the terms of the agreement, Boehly and Clearlake will share joint control and equal governance of the club. Boehly will serve as chairman of the holding company.

"Boehly and Clearlake are committed to investing in key areas that will extend and enhance Chelsea's competitiveness, including the redevelopment of Stamford Bridge, further investment in the academy, the women's team, and Kingsmeadow Stadium. The owners will also continue the important work of the Chelsea Foundation."

Upon confirmation of the takeover, Boehly told the club's website: "We are honoured to become the new custodians of Chelsea Football Club. We're all in, 100 per cent. Every minute of every match.

"Our vision as owners is clear: we want to make the fans proud. Along with our commitment to developing the youth squad and acquiring the best talent, our plan of action is to invest in the club for the long-term and build on Chelsea's remarkable history of success. I personally want to thank ministers and officials in the British government, and the Premier League, for all their work in making this happen."

The UK government declared it was satisfied the deal would not benefit Abramovich, who was sanctioned due to his links to Russia's president Vladimir Putin following the invasion of Ukraine.

Russian oligarch Abramovich owned Chelsea for 19 years.

The 55-year-old stated when he put the Blues up for sale that the net proceeds would go to a charitable foundation, with the money distributed to victims of the war in Ukraine.

Abramovich declared the charitable foundation being established would be the legacy he and Chelsea had created together.

A Todd Boehly-led consortium completed their takeover of Chelsea on Monday.

The Premier League club announced on Saturday that the deal was officially set to go through at the start of this week.

Chelsea have now confirmed that they are under new ownership almost three months after Roman Abramovich decided to sell up.

An ownership group led by Los Angeles Dodgers part-owner Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjorg Wyss brokered a deal to buy the Blues for £4.25billion this month.

The Portuguese government last week approved the sale of the London club, a green light that was required as Abramovich has Portuguese citizenship.

The UK government declared that it was satisfied the deal would not benefit Abramovich, who was sanctioned due to his links to Russia's President Vladimir Putin following the invasion of Ukraine.

Russian oligarch Abramovich owned Chelsea for 19 years.

The 55-year-old stated when he put the Blues up for sale that the full amount that is paid to buy the club would go to a charitable foundation, with the money distributed to victims of the war in Ukraine.

Abramovich declared that the charitable foundation that is being established would be the legacy he and Chelsea had created together.

Roman Abramovich is confident Chelsea will be in good hands under the Todd Boehly/Clearlake Capital consortium after it was confirmed the takeover will go through on Monday.

The Premier League club on Saturday released a statement revealing a new era that the deal is set to go through at the start of next week.

Abramovich put the club up for sale in March before he was sanctioned by the UK government due to his links to Russia's President Vladimir Putin following the invasion of Ukraine.

The Boehly-led consortium this month agreed a £4.25billion deal to acquire the London club.

Abramovich stated when he put Chelsea up for sale that the full amount that is paid to buy the club would go to a charitable foundation, with the money distributed to victims of the war in Ukraine.

The 55-year-old on Saturday released a farewell statement.

He said: "It has been nearly three months since I announced my intention to sell Chelsea FC. During this time, the team have worked hard to find the right custodian for Chelsea FC that would be best positioned to successfully lead the club into its next chapter.

"The ownership of this club comes with great responsibility. Since I came to Chelsea nearly twenty years ago, I have witnessed first-hand what this club can achieve.

"My goal has been to ensure that the next owner has a mindset that will enable success for the men's and women's team, as well as the will and drive to continue developing other key aspects of the club, such as the academy and the vital work of Chelsea Foundation.

"I am pleased this search has now come to a successful conclusion. As I hand over Chelsea to its new custodians, I would like to wish them the best of success, both on and off the pitch.

"It has been an honour of a lifetime to be a part of this club – I would like to thank all the club's past and current players, staff, and of course fans for these incredible years.

"I am proud that as a result of our joint successes, millions of people will now benefit from the new charitable foundation which is being established. This is the legacy which we have created together."

Chelsea have confirmed that the Todd Boehly/Clearlake Capital consortium are set to complete their takeover of the club on Monday.

The Blues this week moved a big step towards having new owners when the Portuguese government approved the sale of the club.

That was necessary as Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, Chelsea's owner since 2003, also holds Portuguese citizenship.

The UK government had on Wednesday stated that it was satisfied "the sale will not benefit Roman Abramovich", who was sanctioned due to his links to Russia's President Vladimir Putin following the invasion of Ukraine.

Chelsea agreed to terms for the sale of the club to an ownership group led by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjorg Wyss for £4.25billion this month.

Another positive update was provided on Saturday.

A club statement said: "Chelsea Football Club can confirm that a final and definitive agreement was entered into last night to sell the club to the Todd Boehly/Clearlake Capital consortium.

"It is expected that the transaction will be completed on Monday. The club will update further at that time."

The deal has been approved by the Premier League.

Chelsea moved a significant step closer to confirming new owners after the Portuguese government approved the sale of the club.

Such a deal required the green light from authorities in Portugal given that Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, Chelsea's owner since 2003, also holds Portuguese citizenship.

The clearance was confirmed a day after the UK government said it was satisfied "the sale will not benefit Roman Abramovich".

Chelsea agreed to terms for the sale of the club to an ownership group led by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjorg Wyss for £4.25billion earlier in May. That deal was passed by the Premier League on Tuesday, pending governmental approval.

The UK government sanctioned Chelsea owner Abramovich due to his links to Russia's president Vladimir Putin following the invasion of Ukraine.

The Chelsea takeover promises investment of £1.75billion into the club, while proceeds of the sale are expected to be donated to victims in Ukraine.

Portugal's government said in a statement on Thursday morning that a decision had been reached in talks held the previous evening.

"Portugal gave authorisation, this Wednesday night, to the sale of Chelsea football club," the statement said.

"The two competent national authorities – the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Finance – gave the green light to the request received from Roman Abramovich for a humanitarian waiver, allowing the English club to be transacted.

"The Portuguese authorisation stems from the guarantee given by the British authorities that the proceeds from the sale will be used for humanitarian purposes, not directly or indirectly benefiting the owner of the club, who is on the European Union sanctions list. The national position has the agreement of the European Commission."

Chelsea's takeover has been cleared by the UK government, which is satisfied "the sale will not benefit Roman Abramovich".

The Blues agreed to terms for the sale of the club to an ownership group led by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjorg Wyss for £4.25billion earlier in May.

That deal was passed by the Premier League on Tuesday, with only government approval subsequently needed.

The UK government sanctioned Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich due to his links to Russia president Vladimir Putin following the invasion of Ukraine.

But Nadine Dorries, the UK secretary of state for the department for digital, culture, media and sport, confirmed on Wednesday the sale had been approved late the previous evening.

"Last night the Government issued a licence that permits the sale of Chelsea FC," she said in a statement on her Twitter page.

"Given the sanctions we placed on those linked to Putin and the bloody invasion of Ukraine, the long-term future of the club can only be secured under a new owner.

"We are satisfied the proceeds of the sale will not benefit Roman Abramovich or other sanctioned individuals.

"I want to thank everyone, especially officials who've worked tirelessly to keep the club playing and enable this sale, protecting fans and the wider football community."

The takeover promises investment of £1.75billion into the club, while proceeds of the sale are expected to be donated to victims in Ukraine.

Chelsea's proposed takeover has taken a huge step towards completion after the Premier League confirmed the sale was approved on Tuesday.

The Blues agreed to terms for the sale of the club to an ownership group led by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjorg Wyss for £4.25billion earlier in May.

The takeover, which promises investment of £1.75billion into the club, briefly appeared to be in doubt due to suggestions Roman Abramovich was unhappy with the sale structure.

Abramovich denied that to be the case, and the deal appears to be nearing a resolution, though the sale still needs to be approved by the UK government.

The proceeds of the sale are expected to be donated to the victims of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

A Premier League statement released on Tuesday read: "The Premier League Board has today approved the proposed takeover of Chelsea Football Club by the Todd Boehly/Clearlake consortium.

"The purchase remains subject to the government issuing the required sale licence and the satisfactory completion of the final stages of the transaction.

"The Board has applied the Premier League's Owners' and Directors' Test (OADT) to all prospective directors, and undertaken the necessary due diligence.

"The members of the Consortium purchasing the club are affiliates of the Clearlake Capital Group, L.P., Todd Boehly, Hansjorg Wyss and Mark Walter.

"Chelsea FC will now work with the relevant governments to secure the necessary licences to complete the takeover."

Roman Abramovich has hit out at "entirely false" claims that he has asked for the £1.5billion debt he was owed by Chelsea to be repaid.

The Chelsea owner put the six-time English champions up for sale on March 2 just before being sanctioned by the United Kingdom government due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Oligarch Abramovich, who has denied having close ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin, had his assets frozen and has since been sanctioned by the European Union and disqualified as a Chelsea director by the Premier League.

In order to help push through a smooth sale, the 55-year-old revealed in March he would write off the debt owed to him by the club, with proceeds from the sale going to a charitable foundation for "all the victims of the war in Ukraine".

According to media reports this week, Abramovich had apparently made a U-turn on that decision, raising doubts over whether a takeover would go through before the May 31 deadline, at which point Chelsea's government licence runs out.

But in a statement attributed to a spokesperson for Abramovich, issued on Chelsea's website on Thursday, the Russian said his initial stance has not changed – including his asking price for the London side.

"Firstly, Mr Abramovich's intentions in relation to gifting the proceeds from the Chelsea sale to charity have not changed," the statement read.

"Since the initial announcement, Mr Abramovich's team has identified senior representatives from UN bodies and large global charitable organisations who have been tasked with forming a foundation and setting out a plan for its activities.

"The lead independent expert has had conversations with government representatives presenting the structure and initial plans. Mr Abramovich has not been involved in this work and it has been managed independently by experts with years of experience working in humanitarian organisations.

"Secondly, Mr Abramovich has not asked for any loan to be repaid to him – such suggestions are entirely false – as are suggestions that Mr Abramovich increased the price of the club last minute.

"As part of Mr Abramovich's objective to find a good custodian for Chelsea FC, he has however encouraged each bidder throughout this process to commit investing in the club – including in the academy, women's team, necessary redevelopment of the stadium as well as maintaining the work of Chelsea Foundation."

A consortium led by Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly is said to be close to completing the final details of a takeover, despite a last-minute bid by Ineos owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

However, a deal cannot go through until the UK government is completely certain Abramovich will not receive any of the proceeds.

"Following sanctions and other restrictions imposed on Mr Abramovich by the UK since announcing that the club would be sold, the loan has also become subject to EU sanctions, requiring additional approvals," the spokesperson added.

"That means that the funds will be frozen and subject to a legal procedure governed by authorities. These funds are still earmarked for the foundation. The government are aware of these restrictions as well as the legal implications.

"To be clear, Mr Abramovich has no access or control of these funds and will not have any access or control of these funds following the sale. Despite the changing circumstances since his initial announcement – he remains committed to finding a good custodian for Chelsea FC and making sure the proceeds go to good causes."

Jim Ratcliffe has pledged to invest £1.75billion into Chelsea's teams and infrastructure if successful in purchasing the Blues, including a "world-class" redevelopment of their Stamford Bridge home.

Ratcliffe, who announced his bid for the west London outfit earlier on Friday, promised to ensure the Blues are "held in the same regard as Real Madrid, Barcelona or Bayern Munich" in a statement released by his company INEOS.

INEOS already has extensive sporting ties, owning Ligue 1 outfit Nice and enjoying sponsorship deals with the INEOS Grenadiers cycling team and Formula One's Mercedes, and Ratcliffe is now rivalling three consortiums for control of the Blues.

He told The Times the only motivation behind his offer was to "create a very fine club in London", although Friday's statement expands upon Ratcliffe's declaration of interest, pledging substantial investment "for the direct benefit of the club" over the next 10 years and to redevelop Stamford Bridge rather than build a new stadium.

The British billionaire has also said £2.5billion will go to a charitable trust to support victims of Russia's ongoing war on Ukraine after Roman Abramovich was placed under sanctions by the UK government last month.

"Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Chairman of INEOS, has made a formal bid for Chelsea FC, for £4.25billion. £2.5billion is committed to the Charitable Trust to support victims of the war, with £1.75billion committed to investment directly into the club over the next 10 years," the statement read.

"This is a British bid, for a British club. We believe that a club is bigger than its owners, who are temporary custodians of a great tradition, with responsibility to the fans and the community.  

"That is why we are committing to spending £1.75billion over 10 years that will be for the direct benefit of the club.

"We will invest in Stamford Bridge to make it a world-class stadium, befitting of Chelsea FC. This will be organic and ongoing so that we will not move away from the home of Chelsea and risk losing the support of loyal fans.  

"We will continue to invest in the team to ensure we have a first-class squad of the world's greatest players, coaches and support staff, in the men's and women's games, and we hope to continue to invest in the academy to provide opportunity for talented youngsters to develop into first class players. 

"We believe that London should have a club that reflects the stature of the city. One that is held in the same regard as Real Madrid, Barcelona or Bayern Munich. We intend Chelsea to be that club. 

"We are making this investment as fans of the beautiful game – not as a means to turn a profit. We do that with our core businesses. The club is rooted in its community and its fans. And it is our intention to invest in Chelsea FC for that reason.  

"No further comment will be made from Sir Jim or INEOS during the bidding process."  

Ratcliffe's offer is competing with bids from consortiums fronted by Todd Boehly, Martin Broughton and Stephen Pagliuca, as the Blues await an end to the uncertainty that has surrounded the club since Abramovich announced his intention to sell last month.

British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe claims to have made an offer to buy Chelsea, rivalling three existing takeover bids for the Stamford Bridge outfit.

Chelsea were put up for sale by Roman Abramovich in March ahead of the Russian oligarch being placed under sanctions by the UK government in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Three consortiums remain in the running after making their offers to buy the club public, fronted by Todd Boehly, Martin Broughton, and Stephen Pagliuca, with the latter of the trio recently receiving the support of the True Blues consortium, which counts former Chelsea captain John Terry among its members.

However, Ratcliffe, whose chemical group Ineos already has extensive sporting ties, courtesy of owning Ligue 1 side Nice and enjoying sponsorship deals with the Ineos Grenadiers cycling team and Formula One's Mercedes, has now told the Times of his attempt to purchase the Blues.

"We put an offer in this morning," Ratcliffe said on Friday. 

"We are the only British bid. Our motives are simply to try and create a very fine club in London. We have no profit motive because we make our money in other ways."

Ratcliffe also told the newspaper that his offer included a pledge to invest heavily in the club's team and infrastructure over the next decade, with a new stadium or redevelopment of Stamford Bridge featuring heavily in statements made by representatives of each competing bid.

On the pitch, Chelsea appear destined to finish third in the Premier League table, with boss Thomas Tuchel this week warning the club could suffer from a disadvantage in the transfer market if the uncertainty surrounding their ownership is not resolved swiftly.

The uncertainty surrounding the ownership of Chelsea is hampering the Blues' planning in the transfer market, says head coach Thomas Tuchel.

Chelsea were allowed to continue operating despite restrictions on owner Roman Abramovich, who put the club up for sale after being sanctioned by the UK government following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

However, the Blues are banned from signing new players or agreeing contract extensions with existing members of their squad as per the restrictions imposed.

Antonio Rudiger has already confirmed his intention to leave, with Real Madrid the favourites to sign the centre-back when his contract expires.

Meanwhile, fellow defender Andreas Christensen is reportedly to join Barcelona after the conclusion of his deal in June 2023, placing strain on Tuchel's squad before the upcoming season has even started.

It is not just the outgoings that are frustrating Chelsea, the Blues are falling behind in incomings with the likes of Arsenal and Manchester City moving for forwards Gabriel Jesus and Erling Haaland respectively.

Tuchel expressed his commitment but acknowledged Chelsea are already playing catch-up as they wait for the final bidder to be confirmed, and then cleared by the Premier League and government.

"[In a normal season], you are never fully sure but we would have some targets and we would have for sure contacted some players and found out about their situations," he said on Wednesday.

"Of course, now our hands are tied. We can still have talks inside the building but we cannot act. The situation is not ideal.

"It would be challenging enough with a stable situation but we don't have it. Everybody is doing it for the first time, we try to show our commitment and our passion for it.

"This is for me very important to give this message: I am committed, I am looking forward and I am passionate about it. As soon as we can act, we will try to act and turn things around.

"You could see we could not compete over the long run, we could compete in periods, we can compete in direct matches.

"I was so happy with the structure and mentality that Chelsea provides because for me that was the foundation to strongly believe we are capable and we will keep on pushing.

"With this now questioned, it is getting more demanding, not difficult because I don't know what's coming – but the thing for me is that we keep the mentality here in the building, the competitive mentality which was installed over a decade.

"This is a bit concerning and hopefully we can find our way through it."

Chelsea visit Manchester United on Thursday with third place in the Premier League all but secure, though they sit 15 points behind leaders Manchester City, who have played a game more.

Tuchel appreciates a sizeable rebuilding task will be required to compete with City and Liverpool next season, a challenge made more difficult due to the ongoing uncertainty.

Asked what was required to go head-to-head with City and Liverpool in the following campaign, Tuchel responded: "Cosmetic surgery! I would be less concerned if we had the same ownership and could rely on our structure.

"This is also a question. We are aware of the danger that the situation is maybe a bit more complex.

"And it can be complex enough if we lose a player like Toni and maybe lose another player like Andreas, their kind of quality and both of them free, that is demanding enough nowadays, to lose this kind of quality in a back three, lose two key players for free.

"It can be demanding enough even if everything else stays in place. So with this in question it can be a very demanding summer.

"I don't know if surgery is the right term for it but still I just want to be positive about it and speak to the things we can influence."

Lewis Hamilton is excited to be a part of Martin Broughton's consortium looking to purchase Chelsea.

Hamilton, 37, has earned nearly $500million in his Formula 1 career, and is teaming up with a number of wealthy businessmen and women – including Serena Williams – as one of three remaining bids for the club.

Hamilton and Williams will reportedly be chipping in $10m each in the offer, after plenty of discussion between the two sporting legends, as well as personal phone calls from Broughton.

Speaking to the media ahead of this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Italy, Hamilton was overjoyed at the prospect of being involved with football at the highest level, and said his allegiance to Arsenal is no hindrance.

"I’ve been a football fan since I was a kid," he said. "I played since I was a kid, from four to 17 in teams every year.

"I played every year through childhood and went to numerous games, when I was young. I used to play football as a kid around the corner and I really wanted to fit in. I was the only kid of colour there.

"All the kids supported someone different, and I switched between these teams, and when I’d get home my sister would hit me, saying you have to support Arsenal. At five, six years old I supported Arsenal, but my uncle Terry is a big Blues fan, so I’ve been to so many games to watch Chelsea and Arsenal play. 

"Ultimately, [I’m] a sporting fan and Chelsea are one of the biggest clubs in the world. When I heard about this I thought, ‘Wow – what a great opportunity to be a part of'."

Hamilton went on to discuss his role in Williams' decision, confirming the two had discussed it together.

"We did speak about it, we were constantly in touch," he said. "She asked me my thoughts, and I told her I’ll be a part of it, and she decided to join.

"We were contacted and Sir Martin spoke to me on the phone, explaining his and his team’s goals if they were to win the bid – which was incredibly exciting, and very much aligned with my values. 

"When I was younger I was trying to actually play for a team – I tried out for Stevenage – but I ended up following racing. I could have only ever dreamed of being a part of the team, so that’s for me the most exciting thing."

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