There are rumours that sporting director Marina Granovskaia will leave Chelsea at the end of this summer. She is one of the club’s highest-level executives and served as Roman Abramovich’s chief assistant for a decade.
However, there seems to be a lot of confusion over what exactly Marina does for Chelsea as fans are not sure of her role.
Confusion over her duties
For example, take this comment from Tribuna user tunde abiodun: “I want her to change the calibre of players she buys for the club, talented, young, energetic and very strong physically not fragile and talented like Kai Havertz, she should look at Liverpool and Manchester City teams that’s what they got going for them.”
Another user added: “Maybe it’s time to go, I am not impressed with her signings since Michael Emenalo left, our scouting has gone downhill. ”
The fans’ comments here indicate that Marina is in charge of the players that Chelsea target in the transfer window. However, is that true? Let’s find out.
Marina’s exact duties with Chelsea
As per Sky Sports, Marina has been responsible for several things over the last decade – these include finalising the Nike shirt deal, bringing Jose Mourinho back to Chelsea in 2013, and forming long-term relationships with Vitesse Arnhem who act as a breeding ground for Chelsea’s young talents and more.
Marina is often called the ‘transfer chief’ of Chelsea and that’s somewhat true – as per a club source (via Evening Standard) back in 2019: “She is basically the power at Chelsea. Roman trusts her implicitly. She’s not interested in being a celebrity but there is no doubt who’s in charge and who calls the shots.”
However, Marina works more on the business side of things than the scouting part. She is not responsible for deciding which players Chelsea target, rather she is the one who does the negotiating over the transfer fee, agent commission etc.
The Athletic’s Liam Twomey adds on the subject: “She’s a transfer negotiator. She doesn’t decide which players Chelsea target, and never has. She’s in charge of player transactions, so the mechanics of transfers and contract talks. Plenty of misses to go with the hits there. She just doesn’t ID talent.”
That’s an important distinction to make. To make things clearer, Marina did not suggest the signing of Romelu Lukaku but she was the most important part in getting the deal done in time before the transfer window ended.
Sky Sports added: “Players’ agents and club representatives have become used to dealing with Granovskaia for transfer business, even when technical director Michael Emenalo was still in post (he resigned in 2017).”
Blame her for player contracts and lack of departures, not player signings
Twomey adds: “It’s absolutely fair to question/criticise her management of the Rudiger/Christensen contract situations, or the failure to offload the likes of Batshuayi/Kenedy/Barkley etc. Chelsea’s broader erratic recruitment record, however, isn’t primarily on her.”
Marina first made headlines back in 2019 with the Thibaut Courtois saga. The goalkeeper said that he had a discussion with her about being allowed to leave in March, but that promise wasn’t fulfilled when the summer came and he had to force his way out as a result.
Chelsea’s scouting and player targets were determined by the manager and a small scouting committee but as we can see in recent years, Man City and Liverpool have outdone the Blues in this department.
Twomey adds again: “It [the lack of impactful signings despite spending big money and wages] probably a sign that Chelsea’s recruitment structure as a whole isn’t anywhere near as good as City or Liverpool’s, but that answer doesn’t yield one easy social media scapegoat [as fans have blamed Marina about this for ages].
“I’m sure Boehly/Clearlake will evaluate all of this stuff and look to make changes in time.”
Using another example, Marina can be blamed for handing out huge deals to players such as Timo Werner (reportedly on £272,000) per week or the inability to offload Danny Drinkwater, Ross Barkley etc earlier. But the blame for scouting these players does not lie with her
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