Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia is poised to become the next big name to leave the club after it was confirmed today that Bruce Buck will step down as chairman.
According to The Telegraph, Granovskaia, one of the most influential figures in world football, will follow Buck from Stamford Bridge, with some sources even suggesting her departure could be confirmed before the transfer window closes.
In this case, it has been suggested that Todd Boehly, who took control of west London after his takeover was completed, could oversee transfer negotiations. Granovskaia was hailed as “football’s best club director” in her role under Roman Abramovich.
The Russian-Canadian businessman has effectively run the club on a day-to-day basis. According to her website, since arriving in 2010 she has “acted as the owner’s representative at the club and in support of the board”.
She graduated from Moscow State University and began working for Abramovich in 1997 at Sibneft, an oil company previously owned by the sanctioned oligarch. After selling Chelsea in 2003, Granovskaia moved to England shortly thereafter.
After joining the club’s board in 2013, she took charge of player contracts and transfer business. Last year she was named ‘Best Club Director in European Football’ at the Golden Boy Awards, underscoring her importance to the club.
Marina Granovskaia (left) is set to become the next known Chelsea exit, according to reports
The club had earlier confirmed that chairman Bruce Buck (L) would step down from his role this month
Chelsea are yet to officially confirm their future.
Her impending departure could force the Blues into another upheaval that could see the appointment of a director of football. Until then, the same release states that Boehly and Thomas Tuchel will be forced to step in to take on the bulk of Granovskaia’s duties.
There are also now question marks over Petr Cech, who has been appointed as Chelsea’s technical and performance advisor by Granoskaia. However, he has been asked by the new owners to continue in his role but will now decide whether to stay or not.
Earlier, the Blues issued a statement revealing that Buck, another key figure in Abramovich’s long reign, would be leaving later this month.
The development came just three weeks after owning Boehly, who took over Abramovich in a £4.25billion deal after the Russian oligarch was sanctioned by the UK government over his close ties to Vladimir Putin.
Buck, like Granovskaia, had been a key figure during Roman Abramovich’s long reign
Granovskaia, a Russian-Canadian businessman, played a prominent role in contracts
The government had urged the Blues to ditch their longstanding ties to Abramovich and that appears to include Buck, who was appointed chairman at the start of the club’s Russian ownership.
In a statement on Chelsea’s official website, he said: “I am proud to have helped Chelsea achieve great success on the pitch and make a positive impact on the community.
“Now is the right time to step down and let new owners build on the strong foundations we have.
“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.”
Buck will continue to support the club as a Senior Advisor.
The news comes just three weeks after Todd Boehly (right) became the new owner of Chelsea
Despite stepping down as chairman, Buck will continue to support the club as a senior advisor
In a statement of his own, Boehly thanked Buck for his work in the role.
He said: “Bruce has led Chelsea Football Club to the highest levels of international and domestic football while developing one of the most active social responsibility projects in sport. We thank Bruce for his service and commitment to the club.’
The Times claimed last month that Buck and a handful of others would share a pot of around £30million from the Boehly-led takeover, with Granovskaia expected to receive £20million.
Buck had been spotted sitting next to Boehly at games towards the end of last season before the completion of the takeover.
During Buck’s time at the club, Chelsea cemented their status as one of the most successful clubs in the world, winning 18 major trophies.
Buck was a close associate of Abramovich (left) who sold the club after sanctions were imposed
Abramovich’s sanction caused several problems off the pitch for Chelsea before the takeover
The Chelsea statement also said: “The club (under Buck) also significantly increased their commercial revenues, establishing world-class training facilities at Cobham and developing one of the best youth academies in football.
‘In 2010, Buck helped establish the Chelsea FC Foundation as Trustee and Chairman, which supports a wide range of initiatives including improving access to athletics for youth, hosting education and employment programs and leading anti-discrimination campaigns.’
Chelsea were a club in turmoil off the pitch following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Abramovich’s sanctions meant the club were unable to sell matchday tickets, negotiate new player contracts or work to sign newcomers to the squad.
Chelsea are expected to have a busy summer under Boehly following the American takeover
Manchester City star Raheem Sterling is one of several players closely associated with Chelsea
Tuchel’s team, which finished third in the table last season, is likely to be employed by American Boehly this summer.
Players like Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen have left, while Cesar Azpilicueta, Romelu Lukaku and Marcos Alonso could all follow through the exit door.
Chelsea have been linked with the likes of Raheem Sterling and Ousmane Dembele while Jules Kounde could be recruited to bolster their defence.