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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 July, 2003, 10:23 GMT 11:23 UK
Osgood hails Chelsea deal
By Stuart Roach

Ken Bates is ready to sell Chelsea Village
Bates is ready to sell
The proposed Russian takeover of Chelsea will put the club among Europe's elite, according to Stamford Bridge legend Peter Osgood.

Roman Abramovic's plan to buy out chairman Ken Bates in a 140m takeover of the club marks the biggest club deal in British football history.

And Osgood has welcomed the wind of change that is about to blow through Stamford Bridge as a timely breath of fresh air.

"If it helps the club to take that next step forward then I'm all for it," Osgood told the BBC Sport website.

He added: "We haven't been this close to having a really top side since 1970, so this news is great for the club.

"In 1970, exactly the same thing happened. We got ourselves a good team and then tried to build a new stand and the club virtually went bankrupt.

Abramovic will buy Bates' 51% stake in Chelsea Village for 29.6m
Russian businessman will take on club's estimated 80m debt
Remaining shares of 35p each value the club at an estimated 59.3m
"Then Ken Bates came in and picked the club off the ground. He built a great stadium and a great team but the only thing is that the club are nearly 100m in debt."

Osgood believes the relief of shrugging off that financial millstone be the most profound effect of Abramovic's arrival.

"You can't live with that over you and that's why people like Gianfranco Zola are on the brink of leaving.

"It's sad when you build a side that is nearly good enough and Chelsea now need to move forward on the back of this deal."

Roman Abramovic
Abramovic took only two weeks to broker a deal

Abramovic has promised to use his fortunes to assemble a side capable of winning the Champions League - a statement that is music to Osgood's ears.

"Last year was a good season; the club finished fourth in the league and reached the semi-finals of the cup.

"We are one of the top clubs but we have to go on and win things, especially the Premiership.

"We have not won the league for 48 years and that is atrocious for a big club like Chelsea."

Chelsea's first course of action will be to attempt to keep their current squad together, but Osgood insists Claudio Ranieri must be allowed to compete in this summer's liquid transfer market.

"They have got to get this debt off their backs but the bubble has burst in terms of players now so we can go and get a team at a reasonable price instead of an extraordinary price," he said.

Osgood added: "There is still time to get in with the likes of Harry Kewell, David Dunn and Geremi and there are so many more players out there waiting for phone calls.

"The transfer market will hot up in the next few weeks and that's a good opportunity for Chelsea if this guy is 100% behind them."

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