Chelsea eyeing new sporting director after confirming Marina Granovskaia's exit

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Chelsea eyeing new sporting director after confirming Marina Granovskaia's exit - PA
Chelsea eyeing new sporting director after confirming Marina Granovskaia's exit - PA

Chelsea will begin the search for a new sporting director after confirming that Marina Granovskaia has left her post as part of the changes to the club’s board.

As first reported by Telegraph Sport on Monday, Granovskaia has followed Bruce Buck out of Chelsea with co-owner Todd Boehly taking over the chairmanship and assuming Granovskaia’s responsibilities regarding transfers and contracts until a full-time sporting director is appointed.

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Boehly’s decision to name himself acting sporting director has shocked some of Chelsea’s Premier League rivals and meetings will now take place over who is appointed to take the full-time position.

Chelsea confirmed Granovskaia will remain “available” to Boehly and the club for the remainder of the transfer window, but she no longer has a position at Stamford Bridge and will not play an active part in incoming or outgoing business.

Boehly and head coach Thomas Tuchel will lead this summer’s business while the club finds a new sporting director, with question marks still surrounding the future of technical and performance advisor Petr Cech, who was not mentioned in Chelsea’s statement and will hold talks with the new owners over his future.

Atletico Madrid’s Andrea Berta has already been linked to the sporting director role at Chelsea, while the club are likely to make an effort to find out the plans of Michael Edwards, who has left his position at Liverpool. Chelsea’s former director of football Michael Emenalo is out of work after turning down a role at Newcastle United.

Boehly and Tuchel’s first task will be to start on this summer’s incoming transfer business after finalising a £7million 12-month loan deal for Romelu Lukaku to return to Inter Milan.

Raheem Sterling is near the top of a list of attacking targets who also include Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele and Everton’s Richarlison. Arsenal target Gabriel Jesus has also been offered to the club.

Raheem Sterling is one of Chelsea's top attacking targets - GETTY IMAGES
Raheem Sterling is one of Chelsea's top attacking targets - GETTY IMAGES

Boehly and Tuchel must also make urgent moves for defenders, with Jules Kounde and Matthijs de Ligt among an eight-man shortlist, and decide on the future of captain Cesar Azpilicueta, who could be replaced by Lens right-back Jonathan Clauss.

Other than announcing Boehly as chairman and interim sporting director with the departure of Granovskaia, confirmation of Chelsea’s board revealed that British entrepreneur Jonathan Goldstein has taken a seat on the board.

A Chelsea statement, which detailed the new board, said: “The announcement includes the departure of Marina Granovskaia, director of Chelsea FC. Boehly will operate as interim sporting director until the club names a full-time replacement, continuing the club’s work towards its targets during the current transfer window.

“Chelsea FC and Ms. Granovskaia have agreed that she will remain available to Boehly and the club for the duration of the current transfer window, to the extent required to support the transition.”

Boehly added: “We thank Marina for her many years of excellent service to the club and wish her all the best in her future ventures.

“As custodians of Chelsea FC, we now begin executing our long-term vision and plan for the club, creating an outstanding experience for its passionate, loyal fans, and continuing to challenge for top honours in line with Chelsea FC’s decorated history. Working together, side-by-side, we are firmly committed to winning, both on and off the pitch. For us, that effort has begun.”

Co-owners Behdad Egbhbali and Jose Feliciano said: “As the new era of the Boehly-Clearlake ownership begins, we are excited to build a championship organisation and grow Chelsea FC as a global platform. We look forward to backing Thomas Tuchel, Emma Hayes and their teams, and will provide proactive, unbending support to make Chelsea’s loyal fans and our partners proud.”