Marina Granovskaia leaves Chelsea after Bruce Buck leaves

Marina Granovskaia leaves Chelsea after Bruce Buck leaves

Exclusive: Marina Granovskaia leaves Chelsea after Bruce Buck leaves - RICHARD PELHAM

Exclusive: Marina Granovskaia leaves Chelsea after Bruce Buck leaves – RICHARD PELHAM

Marina Granovskaia will become Chelsea’s next big-name exit after the club confirmed that Bruce Buck has agreed to step down as chairman.

Buck is stepping down from his role, which co-owner Todd Boehly is expected to fill later this month, and Telegraph Sport understands Granovskaia is in line to follow.

Sources say she is expected to go before the transfer window closes, which would leave Boehly to not only take over the presidency from Buck, but also to take over the transfer negotiations Granovskaia was in charge of during the reign of previous owner Roman Abramovich.

Boehly is negotiating the return of Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan, who are just waiting for the green light from the Italian club’s president Steven Zhang, having already given manager Thomas Tuchel greater power in terms of Chelsea’s deals and transfer contracts.

Chelsea’s Boehly-Clearlake’s new owners will almost certainly have to name a new sporting director, having already been linked to Atletico Madrid’s Andrea Berta, but until then Boehly and Tuchel will take on most of the responsibility left by Granovskaia.

Granovskaia’s departure will further underline the massive operational change at Chelsea since the Boehly-Clearlake takeover was formally completed less than a month ago, with former executive chairman Guy Laurence and now Buck and Granovskaia following Abramovich out the door.

It is believed that Chelsea’s new owners will confirm the club’s board soon, with a statement on Granovskaia’s departure and the timing of his departure also expected.

Buck and Granovskaia earned bonuses for the roles they played in selling Chelsea, although, as revealed by Telegraph Sport, it emerged that the Boehly-Clearlake consortium withheld over £100m of the agreed price on potential liabilities they could face.

Granovskaia’s departure will pose a question mark over the future of Petr Cech, Chelsea’s technical and performance adviser, who has also been working closely with Tuchel on football and transfer issues.

New Chelsea manager Frank Lampard and technical and performance adviser Petr Cech hold the Chelsea FC shirt a - Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

New Chelsea manager Frank Lampard and technical and performance adviser Petr Cech hold the Chelsea FC shirt a – Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Cech has been appointed to his current role by Granovskaia and has been invited to continue by the new owners, but the former goalkeeper must now decide whether or not to continue.

Granovskaia has effectively managed Chelsea for Abramovich in recent years, having, according to the club’s website, “acted as the owner’s representative at the club and in support of the board of directors” since 2010.

A Russian-Canadian, who graduated from Moscow State University and started working for Abramovich in 1997 at Sibneft, the oil company he owned, Granovskaia moved to England shortly after Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003.

She joined the boards of Chelsea FC plc and the football club in 2013 and took charge of player transfers and contracts, and last year was awarded ‘Best Club Director in European Football’ at the Golden Boy Awards, administered by Italy.

The departure of Buck, who has been chairman since 2003, was announced in a statement from Chelsea which read: “Chelsea Football Club today announced that Bruce Buck, who has served as chairman since 2003, will step down from his post on 30 June. He will continue to support the club as a senior advisor.

Chelsea president Bruce Buck during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea FC and Newcastle United - ANDY RAIN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Chelsea president Bruce Buck during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea FC and Newcastle United – ANDY RAIN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

“During Buck’s presidency, Chelsea solidified their position as one of the world’s elite football clubs and a globally recognized brand, followed by millions. At that time, the men’s team won 18 major trophies (more than any other English club), while Chelsea FC Women won 12 major trophies.”

Buck became a polarizing figure at Chelsea following a series of decisions that backfired and which fans blamed on him. The 76-year-old was widely blamed for the club’s involvement in the failed European Super League.

More recently, Buck has received more criticism after Chelsea were forced to back down on a request to play an FA Cup game against Middlebrough behind closed doors because sanctions imposed on Abramovich prevented Chelsea fans from buying tickets.

Buck said: “I am proud to have helped Chelsea achieve great success on the pitch and make a positive impact on the community.

“Now is the right time to step down and allow the new property to build on the solid foundations we have. The owners have a compelling vision for the future of Chelsea and I look forward to helping them achieve it in this new role alongside our incredible team, players, coaches and fans.”

Boehly added: “Bruce has taken Chelsea Football Club to the highest levels of international and national football, as well as developing one of the most active social responsibility projects in the sport. We thank Bruce for his service and his commitment to the club.”

Chelsea will quickly move into the transfer business once Lukaku’s loan return to Inter is sealed. Raheem Sterling is near the top of a list of attacking targets that also includes Everton’s Richarlison, who has attracted interest from Tottenham Hotspur.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.