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

Chelsea will likely spend more than £100m on new signings this summer, with a new centre-back, full-back, midfielder and centre-back already on manager Thomas’ list of priority acquisitions Tuchel, but the biggest problem facing is Premier League The club’s new American owners cannot be settled by any kind of transfer fee. By confirming the departure of senior executive Marina GranovskaiaChelsea have created a void that cannot be filled.

What happens on the pitch, and the players that determine whether a team succeeds or fails, tends to dominate the attention of supporters and the media alike, but there are times when important changes are made. The importance in the boardroom carries much more weight than the transfer of a star player. . Granovskaia’s departure from Stamford Bridge is the most significant change among football’s power brokers since David Gill stepped down as manager. Manchester United CEO in 2013.

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United are still trying to recover from a double loss between Gill and manager Sir Alex Ferguson nine years ago. While Ferguson’s retirement is undoubtedly the most seismic at Old Trafford in 30 years, Gill has also proven himself irreplaceable as a calm, experienced and well-connected figure. , who runs the club’s off-field operations and presides over transfers and contracts. negotiations. United’s brain drain in 2013 led to a tumultuous transition under Gill’s successor, Ed Woodward, and the club remains in recession nearly a decade later.

Chelsea’s change of summer is different from that of United in 2013, but the club still faces an uncertain future. The new regime, led by LA Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly, would be wise to learn from United’s mistakes as they chart a path out of the Roman Abramovich era.

While United lost their greatest manager and a respected executive, Chelsea must carry on without the multibillion-dollar man who turned the club into consecutive winners and two European champion, and the woman who had been a huge influence at Stamford Bridge for more than a decade. and is credited with making Chelsea one of the best performing clubs in the world, on and off the pitch.

Boehly and his partners are up to the challenge of proving that Chelsea can enjoy continued success without benefiting from Abramovich’s personal fortune – the Russian oligarch has suffered losses up to more than £900,000 a week during their 19 years as owners – but they are rich and shrewd enough to know how to make a football club successful as a sustainable business. Part of that involves making sure they have the right people to oversee football operations – recruitment, transfers and player contracts – which Granovskaia has managed with great success, especially since when he was promoted to the role of chief executive officer in 2014.

Chelsea got off to a promising start by announcing that Granovskaia will stay on to be used by Boehly during the summer transfer window to advise on negotiations, and sources have told ESPN that the club wants to hire Michael Edwardswho will leave his role is Liverpool Sporting director this month, to lead the new football department at Stamford Bridge.

But just as United, and Woodward, did not know Gill’s true worth until he left the club, Chelsea are also likely to discover that the loss of Granovskaia will mean more than a simple departure. in a meeting room suit. Sources have revealed to ESPN that some player agents, in particular, are anxiously waiting to discover what Chelsea will do next. Perhaps that concern stems from self-interest and fear of the unknown because so many people have built relationships with Granovskaia to help them negotiate with knowledge of the person they are dealing with and how those negotiations will progress.

Some clubs only deal with a small number of favored agents, and some owners who have joined the Premier League in the past have relied on just one agent to run recruitment in the early years of the Premier League. their ownership. It is unlikely that Chelsea will repeat that kind of mistake made by the likes of Portsmouth, Blackburn Rovers and City of Manchester (before Sheikh Mansour took over in 2008), but once they lose the knowledge and connections of Granovskaia, they are vulnerable to being taken advantage of by others because of their lack of experience.

When Woodward replaced Gill, he had little knowledge of the world of football having worked in United’s banking and commercial divisions before being promoted to the top, and since then he has admitted to making too many mistakes while learning the ropes. Those mistakes cost United millions of dollars for bad decisions about signings and contracts, while the club was also taken advantage of by players, agents and rival teams when they wanted to. increase their own valuations and pay simple transactions using United for their own benefit.

By enlisting Granovskaia’s help for the remainder of this transfer window, Boehly, who has taken over the role of interim sporting director, at least acknowledges that neither he nor his associates are available yet. knowledge of the football industry to go it alone this summer. But once Granovskaia left unkindly, Chelsea had to find the right answer. Edwards will have a proven track record and be as close to a Granovskaia replacement as possible, but his role at Liverpool does not come with the same level of power and scrutiny as those often described as most powerful women in football, so there will still be gaps for Chelsea to fill.

United cannot replace Gill, but at least their mismanagement gave Chelsea a case study on how not to do it with Granovskaia.

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