The man spearheading the Saudi Media Chelsea takeover bid is Mohamed Alkhereiji, who runs Saudi Media and is the CEO of the parent company Engineer Holding Group, which was founded by his father Abdulelah AlKhereiji, according to a report by Goal.com.
Alkhereiji has spent time living in the United Kingdom, where he attended Cass Business School and spent three years working at Deutsche Bank.
He was at Chelsea’s 3-1 win over Arsenal in 2017, the game in which Eden Hazard famously dribbled half the length of the pitch before scoring.
Coincidentally, he was also present the last time Abramovich made an appearance at Stamford Bridge, for the 1-1 draw with Manchester United in November.
Alkhereiji and his children are Chelsea fans, which is why he is so keen to acquire the club.
However, he primarily supports Saudi Arabian outfit Al Nassr, for whom he built a new, state-of-the-art stadium in Mrsool Park.
As well as being involved in Al Nassr, Saudi Media also works with Al Hilal, whom Chelsea faced at the Club World Cup last month.
Saudi Media is the biggest media group in the Middle East, and also has interests in advertising, hospitality, the banking sector and sports.
The company turns over $1 billion (£770 million) a year, giving it scope to be a powerful player in English football.
It is worth noting, though, that Saudi Media’s takeover bid will be co-funded by a consortium of various other private backers from Saudi Arabia.
Would a Saudi Arabian bid be blocked?
Chelsea have discouraged “politically sensitive” parties from bidding for the club but Saudi Media does not believe it falls into that category.
Unlike Newcastle United – who are now owned by the Saudi Arabian state via the Public Investment Fund – Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain, Saudi Media is an entirely private entity with no direct ties to a particular ruler or government.
Saudi Arabia’s record on women’s rights, in particular, is a concern to many civil rights groups but SMC employs a large number of women, while the country has made reforms that have resulted in the female share of the workforce increasing to 33.2 per cent.
As it stands, the Premier League would have little reason to block any sale of Chelsea to Saudi Media, having accepted far more controversial takeovers in the past.
What are Saudi Media’s plans for Chelsea?
They are ready to tackle the major challenge of rebuilding Stamford Bridge, which could cost upwards of £1.5bn ($2bn).
Their previous experience building football stadiums and infrastructure is being touted as a key advantage of their bid, with their existing connections in marketing and advertising also considered a major asset in terms of helping to cover the costs involved in such an ambitious redevelopment project.
Indeed, it is believed that they can attract the most lucrative sponsors to the club, and this is significant because Chelsea have long had trouble matching the commercial draw of Premier League rivals Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool.
Chelsea have already seen their principal shirt sponsor, telecoms company Three, suspend their deal with the club, but Saudi Media are confident that they can secure a bigger and better agreement for the Blues.
The group also believes its ownership, and extensive media outlets, would prove extremely beneficial in terms of broadening the club’s fanbase, given 70 percent of the Middle East population is under 30.
Saudi Media essentially feels it would afford Chelsea far greater access to an untapped market.
Should their bid prove successful, they would also set up academies in the region and use the women’s team to change perceptions of how the sport is perceived.
When can Chelsea replace Abramovich as owner?
The UK Government has opened the bidding process, with New York investment bank Raine Group having been employed by Roman Abramovich to sell the club.
The deadline for a sale has been extended to 18 March