The U.S. investors set to buy Chelsea were given a front-row view of the kind of chaotic performances that have marred this season for the European champions who threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.
Los Angeles Dodgers’ part-owner Todd Boehly, head of a group backed by private equity firm Clearlake Capital which agreed to the terms of a takeover earlier in the day, watched on as the Blues failed to win at home once again.
It had looked like being a happier introduction for Boehly and his consortium when Chelsea’s record signing Romelu Lukaku, making a rare start after a poor season, scored twice in the second half including a penalty that he earned.
But Chelsea’s frailties quickly became apparent after Wolves substitute Francisco Trincao scored in the 79th minute, triggering a nervous finale for the Blues.
They seemed to have just about held but in the 97th minute Wolves defender Conor Coady headed home with almost the last touch of the match.
Television cameras showed Boehly in an executive box celebrating Chelsea’s goals earlier in the game but looking on, apparently mystified, as the Blues threw away their lead.
The Londoners have suffered a recent dip in form as the club worked on the sale of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich’s ownership after he was sanctioned by Britain’s government, part of its crackdown on Russia over the invasion of Ukraine.
Coach Thomas Tuchel highlighted his side’s lack of discipline, which allowed Wolves back into the game on Saturday, but dismissed suggestions that the ownership uncertainty was to blame for his side’s recent stumbling form.
“We still hope for a positive outcome and of course that this situation is solved,” Tuchel said.
“But it’s not so it’s not worth thinking about it. We have our own stuff to solve and to do better because we struggle at the moment, obviously.”
Chelsea sit third in the Premier League and still look likely to claim a top-four finish that would qualify them for next season’s Champions League, a lucrative ticket to Europe’s top competition for their new owners.