British tycoon Sir Jim Ratcliffe has swooped in with a sensational £4bn bid to buy Chelsea Football Club (Chelsea).
The billionaire sent his offer to Raine Group – the merchant bank conducting the process – earlier this morning, according to The Times.
He told the newspaper: “We put an offer in this morning. 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 held discussions with Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck only yesterday and has now launched a late attempt to gazump the trio of shortlisted American buyers.
He also confirmed he has discussed the deal with government.
The offer includes £2.5bn to purchase the club, and a pledge of investing £1.75bn over ten years in the club in terms of developing the stadium, team and infrastructure.
He outlined that, due to its vast size, Ineos was in a position to send the money and close the deal this weekend if required.
Ratcliffe is the owner of petrochemicals giant, Ineos, and currently owns a third of the Mercedes F1 team and two other football clubs in Europe: OGC Nice and FC Lausanne-Sport.
The developments are a surprise, with Raine Group previously expected to announce the successful bidder in the coming days from its shortlist.
Ratcliffe has also previously ruled himself out when current, sanctioned owner Roman Abramovich put the club up for sale two months ago.