Jim Ratcliffe: 5 Things to Know About Billionaire Linked With Chelsea Takeover

​In June 2003, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich acquired Chelsea from Ken Bates, ushering in a new era of big-money spending in the Premier League. 

Abramovich immediately got to work, investing in the Cobham training ground and turning Chelsea into a force to be reckoned with both domestically and internationally. Since the takeover, the Blues have won 13 major trophies including the Champions League, Europa League, five Premier League titles and four FA Cups. 

Roman Abramovich watches from the touchline

Things started turning sour for Abramovich in the UK in 2018, as his visa renewal was delayed following tensions between the UK and Russia, and he decided to become an Israeli citizen.

His troubles have led to rumours that he's looking to sell the club (valued by him at £4bn), with reports claiming that there is a viable bid on the club from a Saudi Arabian investor. However ​recent quotes from Britain's richest man, Jim Ratcliffe, could see the club return to British hands.

Here are five things you need to know about ​Chelsea's potential new owner:

He Started From the Bottom

Ratcliffe was born in Failsworth, Lancashire, and lived in a council house until the age of 10. He studied chemical engineering and got his first job at oil company Esso. 

He started making his fortune by mortgaging his house in 1992 to finance a buyout of a BP chemicals business, and formed INEOS in 1998. Today his fortune is valued at £21bn and in May 2018 he was named the richest person in the UK.

He's a Controversial Figure

His firm Ineos is conducting exploratory fracking tests in northern England, which is essentially injecting liquid at high pressure into subterranean boreholes to force open existing fissures and extract oil and gas.

His company's practices have come under intense scrutiny from environmentalists, who are worried by the long-term effects of fracking, leading to protests against him and his company.

He Supports Manchester United

Ratcliffe has admitted that he's a 'tortured' supporter of the ​Red Devils, growing up in the Greater Manchester area until the age of 10. 

However, he currently lives in London and reportedly has a season ticket to Stamford Bridge.

He Already Owns a Football Team

Ratcliffe's company Ineos owns Swiss football team FC Lausanne-Sport, who currently play in the Swiss Challenge League, Switzerland's second tier.

He purchased the team in 2017, and his first signing was Zinedine Zidane's son, midfielder Enzo Fernandez.

He also owns British fashion brand Belstaff, and is planning to produce a successor to Land Rover's discontinued off-roader Defender.

He's an Avid Sailor and Adventure Seeker

A well-known adventure seeker, Ratcliffe has made expeditions to the North and South Poles, and went on a month-long motorbike trip in South Africa in 2015. He has owned two super-yachts Hampshire and Hampshire II, and is known to be an avid sailor.

In 2018 it was reported that he had partnered with Ben Ainslie in order to compete in the 2021 America's Cup, a yacht race that will take place in New Zealand, investing £110m in the project.

Source : 90min