Chelsea revealed the composition of their new board, with Todd Boehly taking over from Bruce Buck as president, and confirmed Marina Granovskaia’s departure.
Granovskaia’s departure underscores the change at Stamford Bridge since Roman Abramovich sold the club to a consortium led by Boehly and Clearlake Capital less than a month ago. The Russian-Canadian executive had indeed managed Chelsea on Abramovich’s behalf in recent years and was responsible for handling player transfers and contracts. She is close to the head coach, Thomas Tuchel, and has a reputation as a tough negotiator with agents and clubs.
Chelsea said Granovskaia will continue to offer assistance until the end of this transfer window. But his departure will pile up more responsibility on Boehly, with the co-owner set to operate as interim sporting director until a replacement is found. “‘We thank Marina her for her many years of excellent service at the club and wish her all the best in her future endeavors,” said Boehly.
There has been a noticeable shift in Chelsea’s approach to transfers. They have not yet made their way after learning of Romelu Lukaku’s desire to return to Inter. Boehly handled the talks with Inter Milan, who in principle agreed to pay £ 7m plus surcharges to sign Lukaku on loan, after deciding it would be counterproductive to deny the forward a move.
Lukaku, who is taking a big pay cut to join Inter, has fought hard after joining Chelsea for £ 97.5m last summer. He struggled to fit into Thomas Tuchel’s system and openly wanted a return to Inter. Tuchel supported the departure and Boehly, co-owner of the LA Dodgers, is eager to support the German.
There was a desire to resolve Lukaku’s situation as quickly as possible. It hasn’t turned into a saga and the challenge now will be for Chelsea to strengthen their attack, with Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling a prominent target, and move quickly into the transfer market. It will be interesting to see how much influence Petr Cech, the technical and performance consultant, will have this summer. The former Chelsea goalkeeper worked closely with Granovskaia and insiders praised his intelligence and diligence.
The hope is that Chelsea, who intend to give Tuchel significant funds for the signings, can act decisively after announcing his new board. Buck, a polarizing figure in recent years, agreed to step down later this month. The American was named president after Abramovich bought Chelsea in 2003.
“As the custodians of Chelsea FC, we now begin to implement our vision and long-term plan for the club, creating an exceptional experience for its passionate and loyal fans and continuing to strive for the highest accolades in in keeping with Chelsea FC’s ornate history, “Boehly said. “Working together, side by side, we are firmly committed to winning, both on and off the pitch. For us, this effort has begun. “
The new board includes Behdad Eghbali and José E Feliciano, co-controlling owners of Chelsea and founding partners of Clearlake; Mark Walter, CEO and co-founder of Guggenheim Partners; Hansjörg Wyss, a Swiss billionaire; Jonathan Goldstein, co-founder and CEO of Cain International; Barbara Charone, a celebrity publicist; Daniel Finkelstein, a Tory colleague and Times columnist; and James Pade, partner and chief executive officer of Clearlake Capital.
Goldstein, who is listed as a co-owner of the club, is a British property developer and offers Chelsea a London presence. His knowledge of the real estate world could prove vital in attempts to renovate Stamford Bridge.
Eghbali and Feliciano have signaled their determination to continue investing in the women’s team, offering support to the highly respected manager Emma Hayes. “As the new era of Boehly-Clearlake ownership begins, we are thrilled to build an organization for the league and grow Chelsea FC as a global platform,” they said. “We look forward to supporting Thomas Tuchel, Emma Hayes and their teams and will provide proactive and unyielding support to make loyal Chelsea fans and our partners proud.”