Roman Abramovich could have bought Arsenal instead of Chelsea but was told the club wasn’t put up for sale by Swiss bankers, it turns out.
It’s a revelation in a new book, The Club, written by Wall Street journalists Joshua Robinson and Jonathan Clegg.
That The Premier League landscape could have been very different had the Russian billionaire invested in north London.
According to The Sun, the book claims that in 2003 Abramovich hired Swiss bank UBS to look into the economics of top-flight football clubs in England and was told Arsenal was “categorically not for sale”.
It was later revealed that former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein believes the club’s owners would have made money had Abramovich called with a serious offer for the Gunners.
It is also claimed the Russian oligarch met with Tottenham’s owners and tried to lure Thierry Henry to Stamford Bridge when the Frenchman was in his Premier League pomp.
Instead, Abramovich ended up on the other side of London and bought Chelsea in a reign that would last 19 years.
During his tenure as Chelsea owner, the 55-year-old transformed the club, investing in some of the world’s best players who helped the Blues win 21 trophies.
The trophy collection included five Premier League triumphs, five FA Cup wins and two Champions League successes. During his tenure as head of the club, he also oversaw the hiring and firing of 13 managers.
His ownership ended earlier this year when he was forced to relinquish control of the club as part of sanctions imposed on him by the government over his ties to Russia and its invasion of Ukraine.
Abramovich penned an emotional farewell to the club, describing ownership of Chelsea as “the honor of his life” in a 234-word statement.
American billionaire Todd Boehly bought Chelsea in May, paying £4.25 billion to succeed Abramovich as the Blues’ owner.
Boehly has been quick to show he has a similar reckless streak to his predecessor by sacking Thomas Tuchel after just six games in the Premier League season.