Jim Ratcliffe

Britain’s richest man Sir Jim Ratcliffe continues to be linked with English Premier League clubs despite his company INEOS recently purchasing French outfit Nice.

Earlier talks with Chelsea have been confirmed by his brother, Bob, who is the head of INEOS’ football division, while Newcastle, Manchester United and Liverpool are all said to have been looked at.

Despite the suggestions that Sir Jim could still snap up an English club, there are no plans for any fresh approaches over the next few years.

“We spent quite a lot of time looking at Premier League clubs and their valuations,” he said. “£5bn revenue from the Premier League … top six clubs being valued at £2bn and upwards and £450m of net profit before tax.

“It was difficult to rationalise purchases in the Premier League for us. If you look below the top six, they are all £150m and above.

“I think the foreseeable future it is off the radar. We have a three to five year project in Nice and that will keep us busy.”

On the Chelsea and Newcastle links, he added: “There was some early exchange [with Chelsea] but we were a significant way apart on valuations. The issue with Chelsea is its stadium. We are all getting older and it is a decade of your life to resolve that.

“You look at Newcastle, and we looked at a lot of clubs. You come back to a valuation in the hundreds of millions and it is difficult to contemplate.”

Mike Ashley is looking for around £350million for Newcastle United while there have been suggestions that Liverpool’s owners Fenway Sports Group would want a fee of around £2billion for their club although they insist it’s not for sale. Forbes value the Anfield outfit at £1.7bn. Manchester United are valued at £3bn while Chelsea is mooted to be valued at around £2bn.

In comparison, Nice was purchased for £88.7million.

Commenting on the takeover of Nice by INEOS, Sir Jim said: “It has been quite a long journey getting here.

“We have looked at a lot of clubs in the manner we look at businesses in Ineos – for value and potential – and Nice fulfils that criteria.”

INEOS also own Swiss second division outfit Lausanne.

You don’t need to be Jim Ratliffe to invest in some of Europe’s top football clubs! Just take a look at the clubs you can buy into thanks to our helpful guides on Football Club Shares.