The Arab tycoon who led the takeover of Manchester City has revealed that he and a group of German investors are considering a bid to buy Chelsea.
Blues owner and Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich has insisted that the London club is not for sale.
But Dr Sulaiman al-Fahim said: “It would not be cheap… but through a number of investors, there is money available to put together a deal.”
Abramovich has invested about Ã‚Â£600m in Chelsea since taking over in July 2003.
Fahim, part of the Abu Dhabi United Group that bought Manchester City, is understood to have drawn up a proposal with Falcon Equity – a Swiss-based private equity partnership.
He added: “Nobody wants to be over-exposed on one deal… first we need to see if we’re in a position to buy it.”
Even though Abramovich’s personal fortune is understood to have been affected by the global economic downturn, Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon insists the club is not for sale.
“Next year we expect our operating profit to break even,” he said.
“Our financial accounts for 2007-08 are published in February, and any notions about the owner losing interest are dispelled in that.
“The owner does not have to sell Chelsea and he doesn’t want to.”
Still, it is believed Fahim and his investors are weighing up a bid.
The chief executive of Abu-Dhabi-based Hydra Properties also chairs Falcon Equity, which is run by Holger Haims, former managing partner of ‘DVC’ – Deutsche Venture Capital.
Heims said: “I don’t believe anything is not for sale if you come up with the right price.
“We have looked at some European clubs to see if the numbers added up, and now we’re doing the same with Chelsea.
“I can’t go into more details at this stage. It’s not about trying about to buy a football club but about a business.
“You don’t make money because 11 guys run around the pitch, you make money because of all the other commercial aspects that go with a football club, particularly real estate and television rights.”