Abramovich nearly bought Arsenal in 2003 but club was ‘not for sale’

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Roman Abramovich could have bought Arsenal instead of Chelsea, but was told the club was not for sale by Swiss bankers.

It is a revelation made in new book, The Club, written by Wall Street journalists Joshua Robinson and Jonathan Clegg, and The Sun reports that the landscape of the Premier League could have been very different if the Russian billionaire had invested in the north side of London.

The book claims that in 2003, Abramovich hired Swiss bank UBS to look at the economics of top-flight football clubs in England and was told that Arsenal were ‘categorically not for sale’.

However, it later states that David Dein believes the club owners would have cashed-in if Abramovich had came calling with a serious offer for the Gunners.

Further claims state that the Russian oligarch also met with Tottenham’s owners, while he also 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 as the club’s owner.

During his spell as owner of Chelsea, the 55-year-old transformed the club. Investing in some of the world’s best players in a dynasty that saw the Blues win 21 trophies.

The trophy haul included five Premier League triumphs, five FA Cup wins and two Champions League successes. He also oversaw the hiring and firing of 13 managers during his term in charge of the club.

His ownership came to an earlier this year, when he agreed to give up control of the club following his links to Russia and their invasion of Ukraine.

Abramovich penned an emotional farewell to the club, where he called owning Chelsea ‘the honour of a lifetime’ in a 234-word statement.

American billionaire Todd Boehly bought the club in May, paying £4.25billion to succeed Abramovich as owner of the the Blues.

Boehly has quickly shown he shares a similar ruthless streak to his predecessor by sacking Thomas Tuchel after just six games into the Premier League season.

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