Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia and chairman Bruce Buck have both left Stamford Bridge after US businessman Todd Boehly’s consortium completed a takeover of the club
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Thomas Tuchel was handed the keys to Chelsea on Wednesday after they finally confirmed that Marina Granovskaia is leaving.
Blues boss Tuchel will be granted much more power over recruitment now that the club’s chief transfer negotiator is stepping down. And he is under pressure to get things right with £97.5million flop Romelu Lukaku about to seal a loan return to Inter Milan.
Chelsea will receive less than £10m in loan fees from Inter for the Belgium star, whose departure has been given the green light and should be officially announced within days. He scored just eight Premier League goals for the Blues last season.
But with Granovskaia gone it is Tuchel and new Blues chairman Todd Boehly who will take charge of transfers. Boehly said: “We thank Marina for her many years of excellent service to the Club and wish her all the best in her future ventures.”
Boehly will act as an interim sporting director as the club begins it’s search for a full-time appointment to that position. But in a massive show of faith in Tuchel, he will work closesly with the Blues boss to identify and recruit players this summer, with technical adviser Petr Cech also contributing.
It is the most power Tuchel has ever wielded at Stamford Bridge – but the club are keen to avoid any more expensive mistakes like Lukaku. So he is expected to help deliver cost-effective signings who prove much more productive than Lukaku, who ended up playing second fiddle to Kai Havertz last season.
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Granovskaia, a trusted long-time aide to Roman Abramovich, leaves Chelsea as part of sweeping changes to the board. Chelsea co-controlling owners Behdad Eghbali and Jose Feliciano, have now been added, along with LA Dodgers co-owner Mark Walter, Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss and British tycoon Jonathan Goldstein.
Also handed seats are music industry supremo Barbara Charone and Tory peer and columnist Daniel Finkelstein, along with Clearlake partner James Pade.
“As custodians of Chelsea FC, we now begin executing our long-term vision and plan for the Club, creating an outstanding experience for its passionate, loyal fans, and continuing to challenge for top honours in line with Chelsea FC’s decorated history,” added Boehly.
“Working together, side-by-side, we are firmly committed to winning, both on and off the pitch. For us, that effort has begun.”
Eghbali and Feliciano said: “As the new era of the Boehly-Clearlake ownership begins, we are excited to build a championship organisation and grow Chelsea FC as a global platform. We look forward to backing Thomas Tuchel, Emma Hayes and their teams, and will provide proactive, unbending support to make Chelsea’s loyal fans and our partners proud.”
Chelsea finished third in the Premier League last season, 19 points behind champions Manchester City. They won the UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup but finished as runners-up in the FA Cup and EFL Cup – losing both finals to Liverpool on penalties.