The New York Jets’ British footprint could get even bigger
Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Johnson is preparing a bid to purchase Chelsea Football Club, a West London-based association football club currently competing in the English Premier League. The team has been put up for sale by Russian oligarch, politician, and current Roman Abramovich in the wake of potential sanctions brought about by the invasion of Ukraine.
Abramovich has nonetheless denied any personal ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
According to Schefter’s report, Johnson became a fan of the club during his four-year term as the United States’ Ambassador to the United Kingdom under President Donald Trump. Additionally, Johnson likewise became “aware of the important role the Premier League plays throughout the United Kingdom.”
Notable names on the current Chelsea roster include German star Kai Havertz, English national team rep Mason Mount, and American standout Christian Pulisic.
Abramovich’s asking price for the club is reportedly £3 billion (just over $3.9 billion USD), according to Simon Mullock of The Daily Mirror, but his attempt at a speedy sale could significantly reduce the value.
“Abramovich will be lucky to get close to £2billion,” a “high-level source with expertise in the process involved in buying Premier League clubs” told Mullock.
“There are buyers out there looking for a club of Chelsea’s stature, but the fact that Abramovich is looking for a quick sale weakens his position considerably. Anyone who comes to the table isn’t going to just give him what he wants.”
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Johnson’s potential purchase of the Blues would only increase the Jets’ growing footprint in London.
The team partook in the most recent edition of the NFL’s London-based International Series (which will expand to Mexico City and Munich in 2022), dropping a 27-20 decision to the Atlanta Falcons in October.
Additionally, the Jets are one of six teams that will use the United Kingdom as a European marketing area, part of the NFL’s newly installed International Home Marketing Areas initiative (sharing with Chicago, Jacksonville, Miami, and San Francisco).
Johnson would be far from the first NFL owner to become involved in the EPL, where the Blue finished third last season. Current EPL squads under at least part-ownership of NFL representatives include Arsenal F.C. (Stan Kroenke, L.A. Rams), Leeds United (Jed York, San Francisco), and Manchester United (Glazer family, Tampa Bay).
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags