Chelsea owners are looking to buy more clubs to grow the flow of football stars
Chelsea’s new US owners plan to buy more football clubs to help develop young superstars and prepare them for its premiership team.
US financier Todd Boehly said he would consider buying teams in other European leagues to add to the £2.5billion acquisition of the English top-flight club, highlighting Belgium and the Portugal as target countries.
The view hints at how Boehly and private equity group Clearlake Capital aim to make a profit from the record sum they paid to acquire Chelsea in May from sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, who put the London club up for sale in fallout from Vladimir Putin. invasion of Ukraine.
“The challenge is that when you have 18, 19, 20-year-old superstars, you can loan them out to other clubs but you’re putting their development in someone else’s hands,” Boehly told the conference. financial institution Salt in New York on Tuesday.
“Our aim is to make sure we can show avenues for our young superstars to get them onto the Chelsea pitch while giving them real playing time.”
Boehly said he wanted to create a multi-club ownership group, emulating the example set by City Football Group, which controls English champions Manchester City and has stakes in teams in New York, Australia and Japan. .
The US investor has defended the decision to sack former manager Thomas Tuchel, who won the UEFA Champions League at Chelsea, and replace him with Brighton & Hove Albion’s Graham Potter. The move came after the new owners signed a gross outlay of £251m for new players in the summer transfer market, the biggest of any club in Europe.
“You have to make sure you’re aligned,” said Boehly, who said removing Tuchel was about finding a common vision
While acknowledging that Tuchel was “obviously extremely talented and very successful at Chelsea”, Boehly said the new owners wanted a manager who really wanted to work with them.
He said there were “a lot of walls to break down at Chelsea”, including the sharing of data between the first team and the youth academy.
The Premier League should consider a profitable All-Star Game for the best players in English football’s elite, he suggested
Such a package could boost club revenue and help fund teams in divisions below the Premier League, Boehly said on Tuesday.
His comments show how US investors continue to push for format changes in European football following a dealing spree that has brought billionaires and institutional backers into the heart of the sport.
Boehly suggested a “North versus South” game and a battle between the bottom four teams in the league, with proceeds to help fund the lowest-ranked teams in the English football pyramid.
“At the end of the day, I hope the Premier League will learn a little lesson from American sport and really start to understand: ‘Why don’t we do a tournament with the bottom four teams? Why isn’t there no star game?
All-star games are popular fixtures among major American professional sports leagues, in which the regular season is interrupted to allow the league’s top stars to compete in friendly competition against each other. The matches represent a small tourism boom for host cities and are often surrounded by other friendly television odds, such as the National Basketball Association’s Slam Dunk contest and Major League Baseball’s Home Run Derby.
“[Major League Baseball] made their All-Star Game in Los Angeles this year – we made $200 million between a Monday and a Tuesday,” said Boehly, co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise.
It’s unclear how fans would react to players from big rivals, such as Manchester United and Liverpool, lining up for the same team. However, players from opposing clubs are already cooperating for national duty.
“I think everyone likes the idea of more revenue for the league,” Boehly said. “I think there is a cultural aspect that is real and I think the evolution will come.”
More than a year before the takeover, Chelsea were among 12 elite clubs that attempted to create a breakaway European Super League. The project fell apart after huge fan opposition.
Chelsea and the Premier League declined to comment.