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Todd Boehly is ready to hand Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel £200million to spend this summer after his takeover was finally sealed by Government, the Premier League and Europe.
The Boehly-led consortium want to mark the end of the Roman Abramovich era by giving Tuchel a clear signal they are serious about Chelsea making ground and eventually catching Manchester City and Liverpool.
A fraught two month sale saga was finally resolved shortly after 7am on Wednesday as the sanctioned Russian was told he will now receive the approval licence he needs from the UK. Portugal and the European Commission are expected to confirm the deal this morning, having signalled to the UK that they are happy.
A Government spokesperson said: “Following extensive work, we are now satisfied that the full proceeds of the sale will not benefit Roman Abramovich or any other sanctioned individual. We will now begin the process of ensuring the proceeds of the sale are used for humanitarian causes in Ukraine, supporting victims of the war."
Factoring in some anticipated player sales, Tuchel is expected to have around £200m at his disposal in the transfer market as the £4.25billion takeover deal has now been rubber stamped by all parties, including England's top tier.
Proceeds from the initial £2.5billion sale are expected to start changing hands almost immediately as ministers now draw up a licence amendment which means Chelsea can be sold as a frozen asset. Last minute European permission, which caused further delays, was necessary because Abramovich is also sanctioned there and he has had a Portuguese passport.
Nadine Dorries, the Culture Secretary, said: "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."
Tuchel, meanwhile, has made it clear that Chelsea will have to act quickly and decisively once the club are able to trade normally under their new ownership. Boehly, who spoke to the German and the squad after the final-day victory over Watford, is determined to do just that.
Chelsea finished 19 points behind champions City, who have already signed striker Erling Haaland for next season, which has reiterated the need for Boehly and his consortium to spend significantly in their first transfer market as the club’s new owners.
Top of Tuchel’s priorities will be to solve Chelsea’s defensive crisis, with Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen leaving the club on free transfers and doubts still hanging over the future of captain Cesar Azpilicueta.
As revealed by Telegraph Sport, Jules Kounde and Josko Gvardiol both sit near the top of an eight-man list of defensive targets drawn up by Chelsea. Kounde is expected to move to Stamford Bridge 12 months after seeing a transfer to Chelsea fall through after Sevilla moved the goalposts on a deal. He would solve the club’s problem on the right side of Tuchel’s back three.
RB Leipzig’s Gvardiol is a left-footed central defender and would help make up for the loss of Real Madrid-bound Rudiger. The 20-year-old is rated as one of Europe’s top defensive talents and can also fill in at left-back.
With Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur also in the market for central defenders, Chelsea could face competition for Gvardiol and some of the other names on their list of potential targets such as Villarreal’s Pau Torres and Atletico Madrid’s Jose Gimenez, who has been tracked by Blues scouts for a number of years.
Other than defenders, Tuchel could try to sign a new midfielder and has made it clear he needs to look at his attack but incoming business in both of those positions may be impacted by departures.
Midfielders Jorginho and N’Golo Kante only have one year remaining on their contracts, while Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech would be open to moves away from Stamford Bridge this summer. Christian Pulisic could consider his future if Chelsea receive a bid for the American.
Chelsea appear to have lost out to Real Madrid in the race to sign Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni, while West Ham United have claimed to value Declan Rice at £150m. Selling one or all of Werner, Ziyech and Pulisic could see Chelsea consider a move for Raheem Sterling, who has one year remaining on his Manchester City contract and is yet to decide on his future.
Tottenham and Arsenal would also be interested in Sterling, but Chelsea would be a more attractive option at this stage of the 27-year-old’s career were he to decide against signing an extension at City.
Romelu Lukaku and his representatives will speak to Tuchel and Chelsea’s new owners about the Belgian’s future, while the German is expected to allow Marcos Alonso to leave if the club’s valuation of the left-back is matched. Barcelona have been linked with a move for Alonso.
Other than moving quickly in the transfer window, Chelsea’s new owners will start work on new contract offers for Mason Mount, who won the club’s player of the year award, Reece James and possibly goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.
'The Premier League has today approved the proposed takeover of Chelsea'
After weeks of tortuous and tense negotiations with Chelsea, the Government finally confirmed the deal can go through hours after the Premier League had also announced its approval.
Given the complexity of clearing the funds in a frozen account, ministers had earmarked Tuesday night as a final deadline to allow the sale to complete and the club to register with Uefa in time. However, frantic last-minute talks with Chelsea led to an announcement being delayed until early on Wednesday.
The Government said: “Late last night the UK Government reached a position where we could issue a licence that permits the sale of Chelsea Football Club. Following the sanctioning of Roman Abramovich, the Government has worked hard to ensure Chelsea Football Club has been able to continue to play football. But we have always been clear that the long-term future of the club could only be secured under a new owner.
“The steps today will secure the future of this important cultural asset and protect fans and the wider football community. We have been in discussions with relevant international partners for necessary licences required and we thank them for all their cooperation.”
A Premier League statement, issued earlier, said: “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, LP, 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."