The former Chelsea striker Gianluca Vialli has been hired by Nick Candy, the British property developer, to advise on his looming offer for the crisis-hit Premier League club.
Sky News has learnt that Tifosy Capital & Advisory, which was set up by Mr Vialli and a group of financiers, is working with Mr Candy ahead of a deadline for bids for Chelsea on Friday.
The move brings one of the most popular Blues players of the last 25 years into the auction of the club, which is racing to find a buyer after Roman Abramovich’s sanctioning by the government.
Mr Vialli played for Chelsea between 1996 and 2000, including two years as player-manager – a period when the club won trophies including the FA Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup.
Tifosy – whose name is a play on ‘Tifosy’, the Italian for ‘fans’ – has worked on a string of prominent bids for European football clubs in recent years.
Mr Candy is assembling a consortium to try to acquire Chelsea, with Sky News revealing at the weekend that he would ensure supporter representation on its board if he is successful.
A spokesperson for Mr Candy’s bid confirmed the appointment of Tifosy, adding that the firm had “worked on some of the top football transactions in Europe including Manchester United, Juventus, AS Roma and Inter Milan”.
“The company is co-founded by former professional footballer and truly adored Chelsea player, Gianlucca Vialli.
“Their work on the data and business analysis so far has been outstanding,” the spokesperson added.
News of Tifosy’s involvement came on another frenetic day surrounding Chelsea’s ownership.
Sky News revealed earlier on Wednesday that the Ricketts family, owner of the Chicago Cubs baseball team, had teamed up with the hedge fund multibillionaire Ken Griffin, to bid for the club.
Oaktree Capital Management, the alternative investment firm, is also preparing a bid, according to the Financial Times.