Chelsea’s summer transfer plans have been thrown into doubt following Roman Abramovich’s decision to sell the club, with the Premier League side unlikely to be able to invest heavily in the summer window unless a wealthy new owner is found in the next few months.

Abramovich announced his decision to sell Chelsea on Wednesday evening, saying he believes “it is in the best interest of the club”. The Russian billionaire has bankrolled the Blues since his takeover in 2003, with his funding helping Chelsea to win 19 major trophies during his reign.

Abramovich’s support has continued even since 2018, when he became a less visible presence at Stamford Bridge after withdrawing his application for a UK visa, with the west London side breaking their transfer record to sign Romelu Lukaku for £97.5m from Inter Milan last summer.

But that type of spending is unlikely to be possible in the next transfer window if Abramovich remains the club’s owner, with doubts over whether the 55-year-old would be willing to fund expensive player purchases if he is hoping to sell the club.

That raises the prospect of Chelsea having to operate more like a conventional business and only spending what they earn, rather than relying on their billionaire owner.

The European and world champions may also have to use player sales to help fund any new signings. The Blues have successfully sold players for large transfer fees in the past, and made a profit in the transfer market this season despite the arrival of Lukaku.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sky Sports News’ chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol says Abramovich’s sale of Chelsea is in the hands of the UK Government, as they could implement sanctions against the Russian oligarch

Another issue for Chelsea could be retaining Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azplicueta, who are all out of contract at the end of the season. The trio have already been approached by other European clubs, and the uncertainty at Chelsea could impact their decision of whether to stay at Stamford Bridge.

An added complication for Chelsea is the prospect of Abramovich being placed under sanctions by the UK Government, who are threatening to target Russian businesspeople following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Abramovich denies links with the Russian Government or President Vladimir Putin and denies doing anything that would warrant being sanctioned.

Asked whether the Chelsea owner could sell the club if he was sanctioned by the UK Government, Richard Masters, the Premier League chief executive said: “I don’t think that will work.”

Romelu Lukaku is mobbed by his team-mates after putting Chelsea ahead at Luton

Image: Romelu Lukaku became Chelsea’s record signing last summer

Chelsea have less cause to worry over the future of Thomas Tuchel, though, with the head coach – who is under contract until 2024 – understood to remain committed to the club.

However, Bruce Buck, the chairman, and Marina Granovskaia, the powerful director, are both likely to leave Chelsea if a new owner takes control.

Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and American investor Todd Boehly are understood to be two of the parties interested in buying Chelsea. However, British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe has been ruled out of the running, with a spokesperson for his company Ineos saying there was “no substance” to reports linking him with a bid for the club.

Tuchel: Abramovich sale ‘hasn’t sunk in yet’ | ‘It’s a massive change’

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel says he can’t imagine Chelsea without Abramovich, but says he ‘is not afraid of change’ ahead of the Russian’s sale of the club

Thomas Tuchel admitted following Chelsea’s FA Cup fifth-round win at Luton on Wednesday that Roman Abramovich’s decision to sell the club “hasn’t sunk in yet” and it will provoke a “massive change” at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea struggled to overcome their Championship opponents in the wake of Abramovich’s statement, eventually winning 3-2, and when asked to discuss the owner’s impact in west London after the game, Tuchel said: “It’s a bit too early because it’s big news.

“I can only think about Chelsea with Roman Abramovich, so it’s very hard for me. It hasn’t sunk in yet that this is going to stop. It’s a massive change, of course.

“I don’t think I need to talk about it. I’m very sure the club will speak to us and the players. I’m not so much worried because I still feel privileged and in a good place and I still hope and trust for the best. I’m not so much the person who worries about things I cannot influence.

“It’s big news, it will be a big change, but I’m also never afraid of change and will focus on what I can influence – this staff and team at Cobham.”

Neville reacts to shock Abramovich statement

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Gary Neville reacts to Abramovich’s decision to sell Chelsea

Gary Neville has reacted to Abramovich’s announcement that he intends to sell Chelsea after an almost 20-year ownership of the club.

He said: “It’s more of a reactive measure than a planned measure because I don’t think he would have put the statement out on Saturday night, handing the club to the trustees if he knew he was going to put the club up for sale a few days later.

“We’ve seen in the news over the last four or five days that wealthy Russians are moving their assets all over the world to more safe havens where they’re not going to have their assets seized, and Abramovich is no different.

“He’s been an important owner in Premier League history over the last 20 years. I do believe he has enhanced the competitiveness of the Premier League.

“It was a model at the beginning that I found bizarre, coming from a stable club at the time in Manchester United – sacking managers quite regularly who had seen success. But over the last 20 years, he has been a very successful owner of a football club that has created a distinctive model in the way they approach things, particularly with their academy players.

“They’re a football club who have been very successful and become admired under his ownership, but eventually those alleged links to Vladimir Putin and the war on Ukraine have brought it to an end.

“I think things have been closing in on him for a few years now and it has come to a head in the last week.”

PORTO, PORTUGAL - MAY 29: Thomas Tuchel, Manager of Chelsea and Roman Abramovich, Owner of Chelsea celebrate following their team's victory in the UEFA Champions League Final between Manchester City and Chelsea FC at Estadio do Dragao on May 29, 2021 in Porto, Portugal. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Image: Abramovich talks to Tuchel after Chelsea’s Champions League final victory over Manchester City in Porto last May

Supporters Trust: New owners ‘must have Chelsea as primary focus’

Chelsea Supporters Trust thanked outgoing owner Abramovich in a statement released on Thursday while expressing support for the people of Ukraine over the ongoing war.

The statement laid out the Trust’s criteria for any new owner, reading: “With regards to the future – we sincerely hope that any new owner(s) have the long-term prosperity of Chelsea and its supporters as their primary focus. Chelsea has a rich history and a strong winning ethos, any potential takeover should be made to further develop this and not simply as an ‘investment opportunity.’

“It is also imperative that any new owner(s) meet and surpass the requirements outlined within the Premier League’s Owners’ and Directors’ Test.

“We sincerely hope that any new ownership will have an open dialogue with supporters and fully consult with supporters organisations when making decisions. Supporters must be put first in all decisions that are made.”

Follow Chelsea with Sky Sports

Follow every Chelsea game in the Premier League this season with our live blogs on the Sky Sports website and app, and watch match highlights for free shortly after full-time.

Want the Chelsea latest? Bookmark our Chelsea news page, check out Chelsea’s fixtures and Chelsea’s latest results, watch Chelsea goals and video, keep track of the Premier League table and see which Chelsea games are coming up live on Sky Sports.

Get all this and more – including notifications sent straight to your phone – by downloading the Sky Sports Scores app and setting Chelsea as your favourite team.

Hear the best Premier League reaction and expert analysis with the Essential Football and Gary Neville podcasts, keep up-to-date with our dedicated Transfer Centre, follow the Sky Sports social accounts on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, and find out how to get Sky Sports.