Chelsea’s changing of the guard will continue next week with chairman Bruce Buck set to step down and co-owner Todd Boehly poised to succeed him.
Marina Granovskaia, the Blues’ hugely experienced chief negotiator, is set to follow in a massive change of direction for the club following the exit of Roman Abramovich. That could see Boelhy assuming control of the push to land Raheem Sterling from Manchester City and Sevilla’s impressive France centre-back Jules Kounde this summer.
Chelsea are expected to clarify the situation – and the composition of the club’s new board – within the next few days. But it represents a period of upheaval at the club with Thomas Tuchel desperate to reshape the squad for a title challenge next season. Buck became chairman when Abramovich bought the club in 2003. He’d been expected to stay on after the Boehly-led consortium took over last month.
Instead he will now support the club as a ‘senior adviser’. “Now is the right time to step down and let new ownership build on the strong foundations we have in place,” he said. “The owners have a compelling vision for Chelsea’s future, and I look forward to helping them achieve it in this new role alongside our incredible staff, players, coaches and supporters.”
During Buck’s chairmanship, Chelsea lifted 18 major honours with the women’s team winning 12. Boehly praised Buck for leading “Chelsea Football Club to the highest levels of international and domestic football” and thanked him for “his service and his commitment to the club”.
Granovskaia is one of the most influential club directors in world football. She arrived in 2010, joined Chelsea’s board in 2013 and quickly established a reputation as a ruthless negotiator in dealing with player contracts and transfer business. Last year, she was named the ‘Best Club Director in European football’ at the Golden Boy awards, underlining her importance to the club.
Should she stay until the end of this transfer window she will have her hands full with Chelsea desperate to recruit the quality to replace the big names that have left the club. Should Boelhy take over he will face baptism of footballing transfer fire with a raft of deals to broker and conclude in time for Chelsea’s pre-season tour of the USA.
Sterling is on course for a £60million move to Stamford Bridge after seven years at the Etihad. As revealed yesterday by Mirror Sport, The England forward’s move is set to follow the loan exit of Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan after a nightmare season at Stamford Bridge.
The Belgian, who left Chelsea to join Everton for £28m in 2014, returned for a club-record fee last August on a five-year deal. But the move went sour. Chelsea also hope to complete deals for Kounde and Lens right-back Jonathan Clauss to provide experienced cover for Reece James.
The west Londoners are also hoping to tie the likes of James, Mason Mount, N’golo Kante and Jorginho to new deals with their contracts expiring and rival clubs circling them all. Chelsea are desperate to prevent any further departures on free transfers after they were powerless to stop Antonio Rudiger from joining Real Madrid on Monday and Danish defender Andreas Christensen joining Barcelona.