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Petr Cech has joined the Chelsea exodus that has followed the Todd Boehly-Clearlake takeover of the club after the former goalkeeper decided to leave Stamford Bridge.
Cech has stepped down from his role as technical and performance advisor with Chelsea, following last week’s departures of Bruce Buck and Marina Granovskaia.
The decision of Cech to leave puts even more responsibility on the shoulders of co-owner Boehly, who last week confirmed that he would take over the chairmanship left behind by Buck and assume Granovskaia’s duties in the transfer market and on contracts while Chelsea look for a new sporting director.
Chelsea are in talks over a move to sign Raheem Sterling from Manchester City with a formal bid expected imminently and are negotiating with Juventus over central defender Matthijs de Ligt, with Jules Kounde no longer the top target in that position. Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele, who Tuchel rates highly, is expected to make a decision on his future this week and there remains interest in Tottenham Hotspur target Richarlison and Arsenal target Raphinha.
Talks are also taking place with candidates for the sporting director role, who include Liverpool’s former transfer guru Michael Edwards.
As well as Cech, Granovskaia and Buck, former chief executive Guy Laurence and ex-head of goalkeeping Christophe Lollichon have left Chelsea this summer.
Boehly had asked Cech to stay and help him through this transfer window, but the 40-year-old informed him in a meeting that he felt the time was right to go.
Cech said: “It has been a huge privilege to perform this role at Chelsea for the past three years. With the club under new ownership, I feel now is the right time for me to step aside. I am pleased that the club is now in an excellent position with the new owners and I am confident of its future success both on and off the pitch.”
Rated as the best goalkeeper in Chelsea’s history and one of the most successful players to represent the club, supporters will be disappointed to see Cech leave after heralding his return. It was the former Czech Republic international who was employed by Chelsea for both of their Champions League successes and he spoke to fans personally outside Stamford Bridge during protests over the Super League.
Cech was appointed to his role by Granovskaia three years ago and has been instrumental in a number of transfers and football decisions. Most notably, he was credited by former head coach Frank Lampard for instigating the £20million signing of goalkeeper Edouard Mendy who has proved to be a bargain.
The departure of Cech also means that current head coach Thomas Tuchel has now lost the entire football structure he had worked in since being appointed by Chelsea in January 2021. The German has spoken positively about his working relationship with Granovskaia and Cech on a number of occasions.
Boehly said: “Petr is an important member of the Chelsea family. We understand his decision to step away and thank him for his contributions as an advisor and his commitment to the club and to our community. We wish him the best.”
Tuchel has already started working closely with Boehly and, as first revealed by Telegraph Sport, has been given much more power in transfer decisions by Chelsea’s new owners while also being promised up to six new signings.
That has been reflected in the fact that Boehly agreed to allow £97.5m club record signing Romelu Lukaku to rejoin Inter Milan for next season in return for just a £7m loan fee.
Lukaku’s move is expected to be finalised on Wednesday in Milan after the Belgian has undergone a medical.
Cech had made it clear that he felt Chelsea should have kept Lukaku for a second season and tried harder to make the move work.
Just days before Boehly and Tuchel had approved Lukaku’s return to Inter, Cech said: “I personally believe he will have a great season. Last season we saw how strong he can be at the beginning when he came.
“But unfortunately, the long term injury he sustained in the game against (Aston) Villa slowed everything down and then he had Covid as well.
“I think we could see towards the end of the season, when he was fit and ready to go again, how strong he is. I have full confidence he will bounce back and have a strong season.”