The country’s richest man has approached Roman Abramovich to discuss buying Chelsea Football Club after the Russian billionaire’s future in Britain was thrown into doubt.
Jim Ratcliffe, 65, boss of petrochemicals giant Ineos, who is knighted today in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to business and investment, is understood to have offered about £2billion for the club.
It comes as Mr Abramovich, 51, struggles to renew his UK visa in the wake of Theresa May’s crackdown on rich Russians living in Britain after the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury.
The Chelsea boss was reportedly incensed at not being allowed to watch his club play in this year’s FA Cup Final on May 19 and within days he applied for and was granted Israeli citizenship.
Downing Street has made it clear that he cannot work in Britain on his Israeli passport, although he can visit for up to six months at a time.
Mr Ratcliffe topped this year’s Sunday Times Rich List with an estimated wealth of £21billion. Ineos’s annual turnover is about £45billion and it employs more than 18,500 people in 22 countries.