Sir Jim Ratcliffe considering buying Chelsea but Britain's richest man put off by £2.5BILLION asking price

SIR JIM RATCLIFFE is still reportedly interested in buying Chelsea – but has again baulked at Roman Abramovich's £2.5BILLION asking price.

Britain's richest man, a tax exile living in Monaco, has been linked with the Blues over the last year.

The petrochemicals billionaire, who has a personal wealth of around £21billion, is due to take over as chief of cycling giants Team Sky.

Ratcliffe is ready to pay around £35million annually to keep the team operating, with some believing that this could put a move for Chelsea in doubt.

Despite his decision to buy Team Sky – which will be rebranded after Ratcliffe's company and become Team Ineos – is still interested in the Blues, according to The Times.

Although money is no concern for the 66-year-old, Ratcliffe is not prepared to pay what Abramovich wants.

Chelsea officially say the club is not for sale, but the Russian has become a detached figure from the Blues in recent months.

He has not been to the stadium at all this season, while there are issues with his visa – made worse by a deteriorating relationship between London and Moscow.

Abramovich is now living in Israel and has also withdrawn plans for the £1billion rebuild of Stamford Bridge.

The need for a modern stadium, plus the complexity and cost of building it on the current site, is a big factor in Ratcliffe not wanting to meet the huge price-tag.

His deal to takeover Team Sky has not gone through just yet, but exploratory talks have been held.

Ratcliffe, who is originally from Manchester and grew up a Manchester United fan, has had a season ticket at Chelsea in recent years.

He also has a long history of investing in sports teams.

Last year, he spent £110million on Ineos Team UK, renaming the sailing team that includes Olympic hero Sir Ben Ainslie, with the aim of winning the America's Cup in 2021.

In November 2017, he bought Swiss team FC Lausanne-Sport.

They were RELEGATED in his first season of ownership and are currently second in the Swiss Challenge League, bidding for promotion back to the Super League.

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