EPL

Conor McGregor keen to 'explore' deal to buy Chelsea

By Sports Desk March 02, 2022

UFC star Conor McGregor has expressed an interest in buying Chelsea amid reports Roman Abramovich wants to sell the Premier League club.

Abramovich bought the European champions back in 2003, but is said to looking for a new owner.

The 55-year-old gave "stewardship and care" of the London club to its foundation trustees following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss says he was among those to be offered Chelsea.

McGregor on Wednesday suggested he would be keen to lodge an offer of £3billion.

The Irishman tweeted: "I wish to explore this @ChelseaFC."

McGregor previously declared on social media that he would do "big things" with Manchester United if he were to buy the club.

Wyss told Swiss newspaper Blick he will only be willing to make the purchase if he can put together a consortium of investors.

"Like all other oligarchs, he is in a panic," the 86-year-old said. "Abramovich is trying to sell all his villas in England. He also wants to get rid of Chelsea quickly. I and three other people received an offer on Tuesday to buy Chelsea from Abramovich.

"I have to wait four to five days now. Abramovich is currently asking far too much. You know, Chelsea owe him £2billion.

"But Chelsea has no money. It means, those who buy Chelsea must compensate Abramovich [for the debts].

"As of today, we don't know the exact selling price. I can well imagine starting at Chelsea with partners, but I have to examine the general conditions first.

"But what I can already say, I'm definitely not doing something like this alone. If I buy Chelsea, then [I'd buy] with a consortium consisting of six to seven investors."

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    Endrick is confident he can help Brazil claim a 10th Copa America title as he prepares for his first international tournament with the Selecao Canarinho. 

    Brazil kickstart their campaign at the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Monday against Costa Rica. 

    Dorival Junior's side will also face Paraguay and Colombia in Group E, hopeful of going one better this time around having lost to Argentina in the 2021 final. 

    The 17-year-old, who officially joins Real Madrid next month, has scored three goals in his last four games for Brazil but knows he will have to remain patient for his opportunity at the Copa America. 

    "Only God knows [when I will start]," Endrick said. I am very grateful to have Abel [Ferreira] as a coach, he knew when to play me.

    "Everything is up to God and Dorival Junior, the professor. He is a spectacular coach. He is doing what is best for the Brazilian team.

    "I have always been very precocious in my life and since I became a professional I have played against opponents who have always teased me, insulted me, talked about my family, my girlfriend.

    "But I got used to it quickly because I was 16. I'm calm, and I hope I can help. I think it's right, in football you have to destabilise the other player.

    "It's been like that since I arrived, so I've adapted, and I'm very confident that I can help the team."

    For Costa Rica Gustavo Alfaro, he has experience at the Copa America having guided Ecuador to the quarter-finals of the previous tournament in 2021.

    The 61-year-old also took them to the following year's World Cup, where they opened with a 2-0 win against hosts Qatar before drawing 1-1 with the Netherlands, but failed to reach the knockouts after losing 2-1 to Senegal in their final group game.

    However, Alfaro faces a different proposition with Los Ticos. Costa Rica have failed to make it beyond the group stages in each of the last two appearances; they last did so in 2004, but their recent form holds reason for optimism. 

    Costa Rica have won four of their previous six international fixtures, losing only once over that stretch (3-1 to Argentina). They have also not conceded in any of their last three competitive fixtures, winning 15 of their previous 16 encounters when scoring the opening goal.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Brazil - Vinicius Junior 

    Vinicius Junior played a starring role in Real Madrid's LaLiga and Champions League successes in 2023-24, and claiming a first international honour with his nation would surely put the 23-year-old in pole position to scoop the Ballon d'Or. 

    The Los Blancos star had 35 goal involvements (24 goals and 11 assists) in 39 appearances in all competitions for the Spanish side, his second-best campaign since his move to Madrid in 2021-22 (22 goals and 20 assists). 

    Costa Rica - Manfred Ugalde

    Having failed to score for his new side, Spartak Moscow, after his move from FC Twente in January, Ugalde rediscovered his goal-scoring touch at the opportune moment heading into the tournament. 

    The 22-year-old striker grabbed a goal and three assists in Costa Rica's CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers against Grenada and Saint Kitts and Nevis, and will be hoping to continue that form in Inglewood against Brazil. 

    MATCH PREDICTION: BRAZIL WIN

    Brazil and Costa Rica have faced each other twice in the Copa America, with both victories for the Brazilian team in 1997 (5-0) at the Estadio Ramon Tahuichi Aguilera and in 2004 (4-1) with Adriano scoring a hat-trick for Carlos Alberto Parreira's side. 

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    Costa Rica will look to continue their impressive record against CONMEBOL teams at the Copa America, having lost one of their last four matches against them (W2 D1).

    Gustavo Alfaro's side will seek to string together victories for the first time against CONMEBOL opponents in the competition, having defeated Colombia 3-2 in the 2016 edition.

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    Costa Rica - 16.1%

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    Jarrod Bowen backed Trent Alexander-Arnold to flourish in England's midfield having started the Three Lions' opening two games at Euro 2024. 

    The Liverpool vice-captain, who operates as a right-back for his club, has featured alongside Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham in England's win over Serbia and draw against Denmark on Thursday. 

    Alexander-Arnold's inclusion in Gareth Southgate's midfield was a huge talking point heading into the tournament, yet it remains to be seen whether he will continue in that role in their final Group C fixture against Slovenia. 

    The 25-year-old has been replaced in both games by Conor Gallagher in the second half, despite no player created more chances (3) or played more line-breaking passes in the final third (5) for England against Denmark than Alexander-Arnold. 

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    "So yeah, like I said, he's a top player and he understands what it takes to adapt to a new role, I suppose.

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    Eyebrows were raised as Guler was forced to settle for a place on the bench, while only appearing for the final 20 minutes of his nation's loss in Dortmund, despite making such a positive impact in their opener against Georgia.

    The Real Madrid prodigy scored a sublime long-range effort in the 3-1 victory, becoming the youngest player to find the net on his European Championship debut in the process.

    The 19-year-old only played 10 times in LaLiga last season, with Montella believing a lack of competitive action is a concern for his players.

    "Arda wasn't fit to play," the Turkiye head coach said. "I can say clearly he could not play more than 30 minutes without increasing the risk.

    "There was also a temptation of not putting him 20 minutes from the end, but I finally gave in because good players must play, in my opinion.

    "Because we often tend to forget that most of our footballers are not used to playing with continuity in their clubs, and I am talking about one game a week. When you play once every four days, it's another sport. You need to be physically fit, you need to be prepared.

    "Arda is a great, smart guy. He is very passionate about his country, is proud of his country. But even though he knew that he was risking an injury by playing, he wanted to be on the pitch."

    Despite that Portugal defeat, Turkiye are second in Group F with three points, and a draw from their final game against Czechia would be enough to secure their place in the last 16.

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