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What does the future hold for Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea reign?

Question marks are becoming increasingly visible over the head of Blues owner Roman Abramovich. Recently, the Russian billionaire has experienced delays to the renewal of his British visa, which expired several weeks ago. The delays have now reportedly brought plans to revamp Stamford Bridge into a 60,000-seater stadium to a grinding halt, according to BBC.co.uk. Although the same article suggests Abramovich’s visa issues won’t affect his investment in the playing side of the football club, if he is not welcome in the U.K., it could prove impossible for him to retain a controlling interest in one of the biggest clubs in British football.

With a net worth of £9.3 billion, Abramovich has put his heart and soul into Chelsea since arriving on the scene in West London in 2003, taking full ownership from Ken Bates. He subsequently helped to bring Chelsea on a par with some of the biggest footballing dynasties in European football, competing with the likes of Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona regularly in the Champions League.

As to whether Abramovich is considering selling up and moving back to Russia, you’ve got as much of a chance of logging in to Bingo.com and picking the winning numbers on the U.S. Mega Millions than you have of knowing the Russian’s future. Without a doubt, the oil magnate has cut a somewhat withdrawn figure in recent months, with a fragmented relationship with Blues boss Antonio Conte as a result. Conte’s future at the club has been subsequently called into question with Napoli chief Maurizio Sarri, rumored to be replacing his compatriot in the coming weeks.

Abramovich was unable to be present at Wembley Stadium for the Blues’ morale-boosting FA Cup success against former supremo Jose Mourinho and Manchester United. With a decade and a half invested in football, Abramovich could be forgiven for thinking that he’s had his fill of football club ownership. Manchester City’s Qatari oligarchs are only getting richer, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the Premier League, which could move the Premier League title even further from the Blues’ grasp. There have even been suggestions that Chelsea may have to sell Eden Hazard to revitalize the squad over the summer.

One thing’s for sure: an air of change is in and around Stamford Bridge at present. Whether that involves the key squad players, the management team or the owner remains to be seen. Watch this space.

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