Chelsea hold exploratory talks with 3 groups over potential $3.2bn sale

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Chelsea have held talks with several potential buyers amid fervent speculation that Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich is willing to sell the club, according to reports in the UK.

The Mail on Sunday writes that US and Asian-based groups are among those interested in a potential purchase of the Stamford Bridge club, with the asking price believed to be in the region of £2.5 billion (US$3.2 billion).

Chelsea officials are said to have held “exploratory talks” in the past few weeks, while reports also indicate that Britains richest man, Jim Ratcliffe, could also still be keen on acquiring the London team, although he has balked at the supposed price tag.

READ MORE: The fall of the Roman Empire? Chelsea's Abramovich seeking king's ransom for Chelsea sale

Chelsea have officially not offered any indication that Russian billionaire Abramovich, 53, is contemplating calling time on his 16-year tenure as owner.

Recently, Blues chairman Bruce Buck rejected the sale speculation, saying Abramovich was “committed” to the club.

Also on rt.com Abramovich 'committed' to Chelsea despite sale speculation – chairman

However, Abramovich has reportedly not been seen at any Chelsea games this season, having faced visa issues with the UK authorities in the fallout over the Skripal spy poisoning saga last year.

Abramovich has since acquired Israeli citizenship, which would allow him entry to the UK, but has apparently declined the opportunity to attend games in person.

The club also put plans for a new $1 billion stadium on hold indefinitely last year, citing an “unfavourable investment climate.”

READ MORE: Chelsea put stadium plans on hold amid Abramovich visa woes

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