Chelsea is no stranger to change. The Blues saw 15 managers walk through the metaphorical doors at Cobham in the 19 years under Roman Abramovich. Almost two decades later, it was the turn of the Russian oligarch to say goodbye to his beloved club. Abramovich officially handed over Chelsea Football Club to its new owners, American Todd Boehly and his consortium, earlier this month. It’s been a busy three weeks as the Blues undergo possibly their biggest turnaround of the 21st century this summer.
Boehly is looking to turn Chelsea into a machine capable of competing with Liverpool and Manchester City on the pitch. This will require some sacrifices as the Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner has a handful of tough decisions to make in the coming months. He appears to be out of the old and into the new at Stamford Bridge as Boehly begins to build the foundation for his new empire. The trades will continue over the next several weeks with some of the biggest spenders other than Abramovich leaving his jobs before next season.
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There will be massive changes at Chelsea over the next few weeks.
The Blues announced on Monday that club chairman Bruce Buck would step down effective June 30. Buck has been a member of the Chelsea board since 2003, during which time the Blues have become one of the elite brands in world football. The New York native has helped the club establish success both on the field, with the men’s and women’s teams, and off it as a global icon. Buck will remain at the club in a new role as senior adviser, where he will continue to help Chelsea grow, as he has for the better part of two decades. Boehly will take over as interim chairman following Buck’s official resignation, a duty assumed by Ken Bates when he owned the club.
The most important news that came out of the news on Monday relates to the director Marina Granovskaia. The Blues’ transfer-negotiation guru is expected to follow Buck at the end of the current week. Many anticipated that Granovskaia would resign sooner rather than later, as the end of the summer transfer window was seen as a good place to cut ties. However, Abramovich’s close confidant presumably quit before the calendar changes to july. There has been no official announcement regarding Granovskaia’s future, but it is quite telling that she has not been involved in any of the Blues’ biggest negotiations so far this summer. Boehly has been handling talks with Inter Milan over Lukaku’s eventual return to Italy.
Needless to say, the Granovskaia news is the most significant development in Chelsea’s review since Abramovich announced he was putting the club up for sale. She is considered one of the most skilled negotiators in world football and, over the years, she has earned a reputation as one of the most ruthless people in the business. The Blues would not be where they are today without Granovskaia and her resignation is a serious blow to the immediate future of the club.
All that said, not everything about change should be seen as negative. A fresh perspective will help Chelsea mirror the successful formulas of other clubs in recent years. Boehly will be able to experience how the club is run first-hand, which only benefits the new owner in the grand scheme of things. The Blues will eventually be looking for a new Sporting/Technical Director (Monaco’s Paul Mitchell is rumored to be a candidate) now that Granovskaia is almost officially gone, as Boehly cannot take on this role forever.
Meanwhile, the future of other key figures, such as Petr Cech, remains up in the air. The next few weeks will be crucial as Chelsea continue to clean house under the Boehly consortium. The Blues are stripping down on every level before they eventually start to rebuild again. It is an exciting new time to support the reigning FIFA Club World Cup champions as they seek to return to the top of European football once again in the near future.
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