Britain's richest man Sir Jim Ratcliffe is still holding out hope of owning Chelsea after submitting a £4.25bn bid on Friday - but American investor Todd Boehly remains in pole position.
Boehly is currently in a five-day period of negotiations about buying the club, after the bids of Steve Pagluica and Sir Martin Broughton were rejected last week.
Yet Ratcliffe's offer at the 11th-hour is, according to the Evening Standard, still seen as a 'viable option' by insiders, with US merchant bank Raine Group still in the process of confirming the new owner to take over from Roman Abramovich.
The report in the Standard details that Ratcliffe is believed to have bypassed Raine in making his offer, thus avoiding the original complexities of submitting a bid.
Ratcliffe, the owner of INEOS who have investments in F1 constructors champions Mercedes, Ligue 1 side Nice and cycling team INEOS Grenadiers, was formerly interested in taking over at Stamford Bridge before he joined the process late in the day.
INEOS released a statement saying: '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.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe (left) is still holding out hope of owning Chelsea after submitting a £4.25bn bid on Friday - but American investor Todd Boehly (right) remains the frontrunner
Ratcliffe's 11th-hour offer last week is reportedly seen as a 'viable option' by insiders
'That is why we are committing to spending £1.75bn 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.
US merchant bank Raine Group are still in the process of confirming the new owner to take over from Roman Abramovich (pic)
'This will be organic and on-going so that we will not move away from the home of Chelsea and risk losing the support of loyal fans.
'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.'
The club has been up for sale since early March, with current owner Roman Abramovich making the move shortly before being sanctioned by the British government over his ties to Russia president Vladimir Putin.
Meanwhile Boehly, the man still in the driving seat to take over at Chelsea, has lifted the lid on his sporting philosophy as he closes in on buying the Stamford Bridge club.
Boehly, part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, was an invited speaker at the four-day Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles, appearing for the first time since being named as Chelsea's preferred bidder last week.
Boehly has been speaking of his philosophy of running sporting institutions, days after his consortium was named as the preferred bidder for taking over Chelsea
With his takeover at a critical stage, Boehly was tight lipped on Chelsea but his remarks on running a major and successful sporting institution will be of huge interest to Blues fans.
He alluded to how the Dodgers have the most affordable ticket prices in Major League Baseball, which may also be music to the ears of supporters in west London.
'There's nothing like sports to excite passion,' Boehly said, according to We Ain't Got No History. 'And if you have passion, then you have people who care about things.
'And if you have people who care about things, you have great opportunity. And really, it's about curating that experience, that access, that opportunity.
Boehly is also a part-owner of Major League Baseball side Los Angeles Dodgers
Raine Group, the bank overseeing the Chelsea sale, recommended Boehly as their preferred bidder at the end of last week
'For example, we'll have four million people coming out to Dodger Stadium this year. So, our goal is to give them the best possible experience. We still have the most affordable tickets in the league basically, for a stadium that's full regularly.
'In some sports like the NFL, they share all the media money. In baseball, you're really a derivative of your local market.
'The Premier League's similar. If you look at the way it works, to be one of the big brands, you have a structural advantage. And for us, we're always looking for structural advantages.'
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