The race to buy Chelsea has taken another twist after it emerged that the Ricketts family have been joined in their bid by the Rock Entertainment Group, headed by Dan Gilbert who is worth an estimated $31bn (£23.5bn). REG owns the American basketball team, the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The level of Gilbert’s investment has not been disclosed and there is no clarity over who will be Chelsea’s majority shareholder if this consortium sees off the other three bidders. The Ricketts family had already partnered with the billionaire hedge fund tycoon, Ken Griffin, who is yet to disclose if he would take a controlling stake.
The confusion arose following suggestions in America that the Ricketts family would not have a controlling stake in the club, raising further questions about their controversial bid for Chelsea.
The news emerged in the wake of Chelsea’s shock 4-1 defeat to Brentford, before which supporters protested against the prospect of the Ricketts as owners. Thomas Tuchel attempted to play down what was a grim afternoon, and far from the ideal way to prepare for their Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid on Wednesday. The manager insisted Chelsea did not have an eye on the first leg of their tie, and was willing to view his side’s implosion against a rampant Brentford as a one-off.
“After so many wins and so many good results, I will now refuse to make a drama out of it,” he said. “Why should we? Brentford made a lot of the 10 minutes we gave them. After the third goal we had a disallowed goal, a pressing situation against the goalkeeper and another big chance from Kai Havertz. We missed all three and there was a feeling that it wasn’t our day. So it’s a mixture of everything.
“We will dig in and try to find out why it was like this. There are some reasons which we can put on us. It’s hard to take because it’s very unusual for us. We will refocus on Monday.”
Tuchel argued his players were simply weary after the international break. “We struggled at first, but I felt we were more tired mentally. Yesterday, we were wearing gloves and it was snowing in training. Today, it was very, very warm.
“It’s more difficult for us than them to play as the underdog and be well-prepared for this match. In the context of all this I am OK with the first half. The half-time speech was a reminder to keep going and it would come with more fluidity. And it did.”