for sale | 

Roman Abramovich makes a pledge as Thomas Tuchel hits out at chants from Chelsea fans

Irish MMA star Conor McGregor has been linked with a move to buy Chelsea, with Sky News reporting he is preparing to submit a formal bid.

Roman Abramovich has put Chelsea up for sale after 19 years owning the Premier League club (Adam Davy/PA)

Kevin Palmer

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich will aim to sell the club to the most suitable buyer, even if that means he doesn't accept the highest bid when he hands over control.

Abramovich and his advisers are eager to sell Chelsea as soon as possible, after the Russian billionaire confirmed he had reluctantly decided of off-load the club he bought back in 2003.

While there are suggestions Abramovich is demanding £3billion to sell Chelsea, it has emerged that he is determined to ensure the club are in safe hands when he walks away after he decided to sell following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

That means he will not be compelled to accept the best cash offer and will instead look to ensure the club is in "safe hands" as it starts a new era.

Several high profile potential owners have been approached by Abramovich and his team of advisers in recent days, with potential buyers in Qatar, Dubai and America believed to have been among those to have expressed an interest.

Irish MMA star Conor McGregor has also been linked with a move to buy Chelsea, with Sky News reporting he is preparing to submit a formal bid.

Yet no decision has been made at this early stage of negotiations, even though the Chelsea owner appreciates he need to move quickly in case he is sanctioned by the UK government and blocked from selling the club.

Meanwhile, Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has criticised Chelsea fans for singing Abramovich's name during a minute's applause in solidarity with Ukraine before Saturday's 4-0 win at Burnley.

Fans on all sides at Turf Moor had stood to applaud before kick-off as part of a league-wide campaign to show support for Ukraine following the Russian invasion of the country.

But a number of Chelsea fans interrupted the applause to sing the name of their Russian owner Abramovich, who has announced he is looking to sell the Stamford Bridge club.

"It's not the moment to do this," Tuchel said. "If we show solidarity we show solidarity and we should do it together.

"We take the knee together. If an important person from our club or another club unfortunately dies we have a minute of respect.

"It is not the moment to give other messages. It's the moment to show respect. We want to do this. As a club we need our fans to commit to this minute of applause.

"We do it for Ukraine and there is no second opinion about this situation. They have our thoughts and our support and we should stand together. It's not the moment for other messages."

Abramovich last week announced he was passing "stewardship and care" of the club to its charitable foundation amid calls from politicians for him to be the target of sanctions following the Russian invasion, then days later said he was seeking a buyer.

Chelsea have won 21 trophies, including two Champions League crowns and five Premier League titles, since the Russian took over in June 2003.

Following Saturday's match, a Chelsea spokesperson said: "The club's very firm view is that moments of respect or recognition should always be honoured by everyone present."

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