Chelsea must learn from Man United’s mistakes when replacing Marina Granovskaya, the most powerful woman in football

Chelsea could end up spending more than £100m on new signings this summer, with a new centre-back, full-back, midfielder and striker already included in manager Thomas Tuchel’s acquisition list, but the biggest problem facing the Premier League owners cannot be resolved. New american club any kind of transfer fee. With the confirmation of the departure of chief executive Marina Granovskaya, Chelsea has created a vacancy that may be impossible to fill.

What happens on the pitch, and the players who dictate whether a team succeeds or fails, tends to capture the attention of fans and the media alike, but there are times when major boardroom changes have much more weight than a star player’s transition. . Granovskaya’s exit from Stamford Bridge is the most significant change among football power brokers since David Gill stepped down as Manchester United chief executive in 2013.

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United are still trying to recover from the double loss of Jill and manager Sir Alex Ferguson nine years ago. While Ferguson’s retirement was undoubtedly the most dangerous event at Old Trafford over the past 30 years, Gill has also proven irreplaceable as the calm, experienced and connected figure who ran the club’s off-field operations and presided over transfer deals and contracts. Negotiation. The brain drain that United experienced in 2013 led to a chaotic transition period under Gill’s successor, Ed Woodward, and the club remains in flux nearly a decade later.

Chelsea’s summer changeover is different from the one United endured in 2013, but the club faces an uncertain future nonetheless. The new system, headed by Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehle, would be wise to learn from United’s mistakes as they plot their way out of the Roman Abramovich era.

While United have lost their greatest coach and highly respected chief executive, Chelsea must move forward without the man whose billions have turned the club into serial winners and two-time European champions, and the woman who has been a huge influence at Stamford Bridge for more than a decade. He was credited with making Chelsea one of the best clubs in the world, both on and off the field.

Boehly and his associates must rise to the challenge of proving Chelsea can enjoy continued success without tapping into Abramovich’s personal wealth – the Russian oligarch has covered losses of more than £900,000 a week in his 19 years as an owner – but they are wealthy and smart enough to know how to make a club successful. Football as a sustainable business process. Part of that involves ensuring that the right person is in place to oversee the football operations – player recruitment, transfers and contracts – that Granovskaia has successfully managed, particularly since being promoted to CEO in 2014.

Chelsea have made a promising start by announcing that Granovskaya will remain at Buhle’s disposal throughout the summer transfer window to advise on negotiations, and sources have told ESPN that the club is keen to appoint Michael Edwards, who will step down as Liverpool’s sporting director. This month, to lead the new football division at Stamford Bridge.

But just as United and Woodward didn’t know the true value of Gil until he left the club, Chelsea are also likely to discover that Granovskaya’s loss means more than a simple departure for a boardroom suit. Sources have told ESPN that several players’ agents, in particular, are eagerly waiting to find out what Chelsea will do next. Perhaps this anxiety is rooted in self-interest and fear of the unknown because many have established a relationship with Granovskaia that has enabled them to negotiate knowing who they were dealing with and how those negotiations would progress.

Some clubs only deal with a small number of preferred agents, and some new owners in the Premier League in the past relied on just one agent to manage the recruitment process in the early years of their ownership. Chelsea are unlikely to repeat the kind of mistakes made by the likes of Portsmouth, Blackburn Rovers and Manchester City (prior to the takeover of Sheikh Mansour in 2008), but once they lose Granovskaya’s knowledge and connections, they are vulnerable to taking advantage of others. out of their inexperience.

When Woodward replaced Jill, he had little knowledge of the world of football having worked in United’s banking and commercial department before being promoted to the top job, and since then has admitted to making a lot of mistakes while learning the ropes. These errors cost United millions in terms of poor signings and contract decisions, while the club has also been exploited by rival players, agents and teams when it comes to boosting their own ratings and pushing deals simply by using United to their advantage.

By enlisting Granovskaia’s help for the remainder of this transfer window, Boehly, who took over as interim sporting director, has at least admitted that neither he nor his teammates are familiar with the football industry to do so alone this summer. But once Granovskaia is gone for good, Chelsea has to find the right answer. Edwards would come with a track record and be as close to a replacement for Granovskaya as possible, but his role at Liverpool did not have the same level of authority and oversight as that held by a woman often described as the most powerful woman in football, so there are still gaps to be had. Chelsea blocked it.

United failed to replace Gil, but at least their mismanagement has given Chelsea a case study of how not to do so with Granovskaia.

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