Roman Abramovich, the billionaire owner of Chelsea FC, has been believed to have had discussions with the owners of Battersea Power Station about gaining control of their land, as part of his campaign to move the Premier League football club to a new home. It is thought that the people at Battersea Power Station would prefer the proposed offer by Abramovich, compared to others who are vying for control of the location.
Battersea are controlled by Ireland’s National Asset Management Agency (Nama), the government-owned outfit which manages €70bn (£60bn) of property as a consequence of the nation’s banking catastrophe.
Various negotiations have occurred earlier in the year, with numerous interested parties, but these talks are believed to have faltered. That said, over recent weeks and months NAMA have been saying that it is close to sealing a deal with a ‘foreign investor’ who could purchase the debt associated with the £500m site.
Nama and Lloyds Banking Group, the additional chief lender, are fundamental to the future of the power station as £500m worth of debt matured in August without being paid.
Whether the deal with Chelsea and Abramovich takes place or not it is a fact that the talks have shown that the future of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge is very uncertain. Many fans are disappointed theat this would be the end of an era at Stamford Bridge, their home since their very first match as Chelsea FC.
However, moving stadiums would mean that Chelsea would be able to sell more tickets, and generate more revenue to pay for new players and their exorbitant wages. They should be able to comptete more vigorously with the likes of Arsenal and Man Utd, who both have 70,000 capacity stadiums, compared to 40,000 at Stamford Bridge. Ultimately the aim of Abramovich is to improve the stature of Chelsea and the move seems to be in the clubs best interest and could lead them to greater things.