Abramovich could have bought Torpedo instead of Chelsea
MOSCOW, May 13 (Reuters) Chelsea's billionaire owner Roman Abramovich tried to acquire Russian club Torpedo Moscow before he bought the English Premier League side, according to his close friend and former business partner German Tkachenko.
''Roman wanted to buy Torpedo even before he bought Chelsea,'' Tkachenko, former president of Russian Premier League club Krylya Sovietov Samara, told Saturday's Russian daily Sport-Express.
Abramovich has invested more than 400 million pounds (754.4 million dollars) since buying the west London club for 60 million pounds in July 2003 and wiping out 80 million pounds of debt. He has since pumped in more than 250 million pounds for players alone.
Tkachenko said that the Russian oil tycoon had wanted to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the Moscow club but Torpedo owner Vladimir Alyoshin turned down his offer.
''Alyoshin twice had a chance to sell Torpedo,'' said Tkachenko, who was involved in negotiations.
Torpedo, a dominant force in the former Soviet Union alongside Moscow sides Spartak and Dynamo, have struggled to regain credibility in recent years, while Chelsea have become the envy of Europe, winning the Premier League two years running.
REUTERS DH RN1913