aRecently, a week ago, Marina Granovskaya was telling figures within football that she had not decided whether to continue working with Chelsea’s new owners. Granovskaya was as active as ever in discussions with agents about potential signings, and despite the director’s long-standing relationship with Roman Abramovich, it was felt that any announcement of her future would be unlikely until the transfer window was over.
That all changed Monday morning. First came the announcement that Bruce Buck, another colleague of Abramovich, had agreed to step down as chairman. Then, in a twist that surprised very few, it turned out that Granovskaia would indeed be the next notable departure. Ties with the former regime were severed, and although there were initially suggestions that Granovskaia would retain its function until the end of August, by the end of the day several sources were instructing it to disappear before the end of the week.
After all, why stick with the tour? When Inter Milan opened talks about signing Romelu Lukaku on loan last week, Todd Buhle was leading the negotiations on behalf of Chelsea. Boehly, the new owner of joint control of Chelsea, had been in practice since his consortium takeover, and in a notable shift in the way business was often done on the Granovskaia watch, the American moved quickly in discussions with Inter, With an agreement on the terms of Lukaku loan reached Tuesday evening.
There was no attempt to save face. Granovskaia, not Boehly, was responsible for spending £97.5m on Lukaku last summer. The logic was simple: Lukaku wanted out after a disastrous season and Thomas Tuchel would never stand in the striker’s way, so Buhli backed his head coach and struck a deal that would allow Chelsea to shift their focus to building a capable team. A challenge to get major honors next season.
But for now, the idea of catching Chelsea with Manchester City and Liverpool in one window seems unlikely. There are loopholes to deliver defense, improvements needed in attack and not a lot of time to work before the season starts. Tuchel, who does well with Granovskaia, could do so with players arriving sooner rather than later.
This means that the spotlight is already on Boehly and his co-owners. On Wednesday morning, it was confirmed the departure of Granovskaia, who has been looking after the transfers and player contracts. A club statement revealing the numbers on the new board said Granovskaia would provide assistance throughout this transfer period – “to the extent required to support the transfer” – and stated that Boehly, who has no experience in the inner workings of European football, will serve as Chelsea’s interim sporting director until a replacement is found. full time.
Talk about jumping into the deep end. “Boehly clearly believes in himself and is clearly a very smart guy,” said one of the characters with deep knowledge of the transfer market. “But football is like no other business.”
It is a fair comment. Chelsea’s intent to find a sporting director remains – Andrea Berta could be a good fit if he is drawn from Atletico Madrid and there are links with Michael Edwards, who is leaving Liverpool – but the situation is not ideal. Boehly learns on the job, and along with reaching Tuchel’s goals, he must also have conversations with Petr Cech to provide the technical and performance advisor with assurances about his role.
Cech could be forgiven if he thought about his future. However, Boehly needs to avoid too many complications in one summer. Chelsea have not competed for the title since 2017, and are behind City, who bought Erling Haaland, and Liverpool, who replaced Sadio Mane with Darwin Nunez.
City and Liverpool, unlike Chelsea, were able to quickly run their main business. There are no obvious weaknesses in their squads, even if City remain keen to bring in a left-back and additional midfield coverage. They have both been efficiently recruited and Chelsea, who should also be wary of Spurs making moves under Antonio Conte, have a lot to make up for.
The change of ownership provides the West London Club with an opportunity to embrace a more considerate recruitment model. Tuchel’s band is not based on his image. While City and Liverpool tend to buy suitable players to play for Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp respectively, Chelsea were more dispersed. They spent a lot of money, but is there a football identity? Obvious playing style? Or was Tuchel using his tactical expertise to make the most of a talented but lopsided group?
Buhli could offer a different approach. He can support Tuchel and make him as strong as Guardiola and Klopp. He can shake off the harsh, short-term culture that has gradually turned Chelsea into a highly effective team.
However, there is a lot to do this summer. Chelsea cannot go into the season with their options in central defense consisting of Thiago Silva, who turns 38 in September, the trio of Malang Sarr, Levi Colwell and Trevoh Chaluba, especially if Cesar Azpilicueta is allowed to join Barcelona. A situation that could have been avoided by clinging to Mark Gehei or Fikayo Tomori last summer, given that Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger was running out of deals, it must be processed quickly; The interest in defenders such as Jules Koundé of Seville and Josko Gvardiol of RB Leipzig must be acted upon.
Chelsea must be decisive. In midfield, they must consider whether to transfer N’Golo Kanté or Jorginho, both of whose contracts expire next year, and bring in a smaller replacement. In attack they should try to attract worthy offers from inconsistent players such as Christian Pulisic, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech.
The lack of cruelty was a problem under Tuchel, whose offensive problems weren’t just because of Lukaku. The director wants to sharpen in the last third. He’s chasing Raheem Sterling, City playerHis stats are impressive, and he likes Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele, who is interested in joining Chelsea for free. Other goals include Richarlison of Everton and Christopher Nkunko of Leipzig, and Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich will be a dream to sign with Tuchel.
But Lewandowski prefers Barcelona and is closely followed by Paris Saint-Germain. Achievable attackers are few and far between, particularly with Haaland at City, Nunes at Liverpool and Harry Kane out of reach at Tottenham. Chelsea may have to compromise and, having tried Lukaku as a target man, there is a sense Tuchel could move to a smarter attack, with Kai Havertz continuing to serve as the 9 errant and creative players cruising around Germany.
that can work. It can make Chelsea more exciting and unpredictable. Or, given that City and Liverpool have just signed the glamorous No. 9, it could leave Tuchel’s side lacking reliable finishing touches. The problem, after all, is that there are a lot of unknowns in the club. It’s been several months dizzy and the pieces are still in place. time to get to work.