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Chelsea will feel the exit of director Marina Granovskaia

Marina Granovskaia. | PHOTO: Getty Images |
  • Chelsea director of football Marina Granovskaia is leaving the club after 10 years at the board in Stamford Bridge
  • Marina used to be a negotiator for Chelsea in signing players and has been a key factor for Chelsea’s success in the last decade
  • Chelsea is on the market for a new director but will surely feel the departure of Marina Granovskaia

Marina Granovskaia, Roman Abramovich’s trusted master departs Chelsea, where she controlled day-to-day business and was their transfer chief, in what is a significant loss for the Blues.

The Russian-Canadian executive has been the most influential woman in the Premier League – and quite possibly European football – but is fiercely private and has never courted publicity, and now leaves following the takeover of the club by new owners a consortium led by Todd Boehly.

Chelsea’s staggering success, powered by Abramovich’s riches, was contoured by Granovskaia’s decisions. She pulled the strings when the club moved to their Cobham training complex, which opened in 2007 and was even instructive in the lucrative long-term sponsorship deal secured with Nike.

Marina Granovskaia and Bruce Buck

Departing Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia (left) with departing chairman Bruce Buck. | PHOTO: Getty Images |

Granovskaia was key to building the relationship with Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem which has acted as a development hub for Chelsea’s talented youngsters.

Her ability to drive a hard deal can be spotted in the Stamford Bridge side’s sales – Real Madrid agreed to pay as much as £130 million, including bonuses, for Eden Hazard in the final year of his contract – and in their status as league leaders in profits from outgoings.

Other clubs, most notably Liverpool, cottoned on to Chelsea’s mini-business of selling incredibly well.

Granovskaia’s departure will be felt in all areas of the club and while she never cared for headlines, she’ll exit with plenty of acclaim in a football context.

Granovskaia’s relationship with Abramovich

She has been one of Abramovich’s closest allies for over two decades, having first met the billionaire when he took over Russian oil company Sibneft in 1997.

Granovskaia, who graduated from Moscow State University, moved to London when the oligarch purchased Chelsea in 2003 and became, as one source put it, “the voice inside his head”.

Abramovich respected her take on all matters concerning the club and she joined the board in 2013, becoming one of their four plc directors.

The bond between Granovskaia and Chelsea’s former owner has prompted her exit. Her loyalty remains to Abramovich and the new custodians – a consortium fronted by Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital – want their own people in charge to execute a fresh vision.

Marina Granovskaia

Marina Granovskaia leaves Chelsea after 10 years at the board in Stamford Bridge. | PHOTO: Getty Images |

Chelsea kick-off their 2022/23 season with a trip to Frank Lampard’s Everton before hosting London rivals Spurs in their first home game.

Thomas Tuchel’s side face a reunion with Blues legend Lampard at Goodison Park on August 6, kick-off 5.30pm, before Tottenham visit Stamford Bridge a week later.

Chelsea will host Liverpool in West London on September 17, Manchester United on October 22 and Arsenal on November 5.

Their final fixture before the month-long break for the World Cup is away at Newcastle, and they continue their campaign on Boxing Day against newly-promoted Bournemouth.

Chelsea travel to Tottenham on February 25 and Arsenal on April 29, with the latter the start of a bumper last five games including Manchester City away on the penultimate weekend of the season and Newcastle at home on the final day.

Nathan Sialah is a journalist by profession with interest in politics, sports, cryptocurrency and human interests with 5 years experience in Radio and Digital Journalism. This has helped Sialah develop a responsible approach to any task he undertakes or any situation that he is presented with.

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