Chelsea are no stranger to change. The Blues have seen 15 managers come through the metaphorical doors of Cobham in the 19 years under Roman Abramovich. Almost two decades later, it was the Russian oligarch’s turn 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 arguably their biggest change of the 21st century this summer.
Boehly is looking to turn Chelsea into a machine capable of rivaling Liverpool and Manchester City on the pitch. It will require sacrifice as the Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner has a handful of tough decisions to make in the months ahead. He seems to have stepped out of the old and into the new at Stamford Bridge as Boehly begins to build the foundation of his new empire. The changes will continue over the next few weeks with some of the biggest departures – Abramovich aside – stepping down from their roles ahead of the upcoming 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 will step down on June 30. Buck has served on Chelsea’s board since 2003, during which time the Blues became one of the elite brands in world football. The New York native helped the club establish success both on the pitch – with both the men’s and women’s teams – and off as a global icon. Buck will remain with the club in a new role as senior adviser where he will continue to help Chelsea develop, as he has for the better part of the past two decades. Boehly will take over as interim chairman following Buck’s formal resignation, a role Ken Bates held when he owned the club.
The biggest news to come out of Monday’s news is about director Marina Granovskaia. The longtime Blues transfer negotiation guru is expected to follow Buck out the door by the end of the current week. Many expected Granovskaia to step down as soon as possible, with the end of the summer transfer window seen as a good place to cut ties. However, Abramovich’s close confidant will likely be resign before the calendar changes to July. There has been no official announcement regarding Granovskaia’s future but it’s quite telling that she hasn’t been involved in the Blues’ most important negotiations so far this summer. Boehly has handled talks with Inter Milan over Lukaku’s possible return to Italy.
Needless to say, the news of Granovskaia is the most significant development in Chelsea’s overhaul since Abramovich announced he was putting the club up for sale. She is considered one of the most skilful negotiators in world football and has built a reputation over the years as one of the toughest people in the business. The Blues would not be where they are today without Granovskaia and his resignation is a blow to the immediate future of the club.
All of that being said, not everything about change should be viewed as negative. A fresh perspective will help Chelsea mirror the successful formulas of other clubs in recent years. Boehly will find out how the club is run firsthand, which only benefits the new owner in the grand scheme of things. The Blues will finally be on the hunt for a new sporting/technical director – Paul Mitchell of Monaco is a rumored candidate – now that Granovskaia is almost officially gone as Boehly can’t take on the job forever.
Meanwhile, the future of other key figures, such as Petr Cech, remains uncertain. The next few weeks will be crucial as Chelsea continue to clean house as part of the Boehly consortium. The Blues are baring themselves at all levels before starting to rebuild. It’s a new and exciting time to support the reigning FIFA Club World Cup champions as they look to get back to the top of European football in the near future.
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