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 out of Stamford Bridge, with some sources even indicating her departure could be confirmed before the transfer window closes.
In that case, it has been suggested Todd Boehly, who took control in west London after completing his takeover, may oversee transfer negotiations. Granovskaia, in her role under Roman Abramovich, was praised as ‘football’s best club director’.
The Russian-Canadian business executive has effectively run the club on a day to day basis. According to their website, she has ‘acted as a representative of the owner at the club and in support of the board of directors’ since her arrival in 2010.
She graduated from Moscow State University and first started working for Abramovich in 1997 at Sibneft, an oil company the sanctioned oligarch previously owned. Granovskaia moved to England soon after, following Chelsea’s sale in 2003.
Having then joined the club’s board in 2013, she assumed responsibilities over 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.
Marina Granovskaia (left) is set to become the next big-name exit at Chelsea, reports claim
Earlier, the club confirmed chairman Bruce Buck (L) would step down from his role this month
Chelsea are yet to officially issue confirmation about her future.
Her looming departure may force the Blues into another shake-up, which could see a football director appointed. Until then, the same publication has said that Boehly and Thomas Tuchel will be forced to step in to assume the bulk of Granovskaia’s remit.
There are also now question marks over Petr Cech, who was appointed as Chelsea’s technical and performance advisor by Granoskaia. He was, however, asked by the new ownership 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 leave at the end of this month.
The development comes just three weeks into the ownership of Boehly, who took over from Abramovich in a £4.25 billion deal after the Russian oligarch was sanctioned by the UK Government due to his close ties with Vladimir Putin.
Buck, like Granovskaia, had been a key figure during the long reign of Roman Abramovich
A Russian-Canadian business executive, Granovskaia took a prominent role over contracts
The Government had urged the Blues to ditch their long-standing links to Abramovich and that appears to include Buck, who was appointed chairman towards the beginning of the Russian’s ownership of the club.
In a statement on Chelsea’s official website, he said: ‘I am proud to have helped Chelsea realize great success on the pitch and make a positive impact in the community.
‘Now is the right time to step down and let new ownership build on the strong foundations we have in place.
‘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 going forward.
The news just comes 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 also developing one of the most active social responsibility projects in sport. We thank Bruce for his service and his commitment to the Club.’
The Times claimed last month that Buck and a handful of others would be splitting a pot of around £30m from the Boehly-led takeover between them, with Granovskaia set to receive £20m.
Buck had been seen sitting alongside Boehly before the takeover was completed, at matches towards the end of last season.
During Buck’s time at the club, Chelsea solidified their status as one of the world’s most successful clubs, winning 18 major trophies.
Buck was a close aide of Abramovich (left), who sold the club after sanctions were imposed
Abramovich’s sanctioning caused several issues for Chelsea off the pitch before the takeover
Chelsea’s statement also wrote: ‘The Club (under Buck) also grew its commercial revenues significantly, established world class training facilities at Cobham, and developed one of the best youth academies in football.
‘In 2010, Buck, as Trustee and Chairman, helped establish The Chelsea FC Foundation, which supports a broad range of initiatives including increasing access to youth athletics, hosting education and employment programs, and leading anti-discrimination campaigns.’
Chelsea were a club in turmoil off the pitch on the back of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Abramovich’s sanctioning led to the club being unable to sell match-day tickets, negotiate new contracts for players or work on signing new additions to the squad.
Chelsea are expected to have a busy summer under Boehly following the American’s takeover
Manchester City star Raheem Sterling is one of several players strongly linked with Chelsea
Tuchel’s side, who finished third in the league last season, are expected to be busy under American Boehly this summer.
The likes of Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen have departed, while Cesar Azpilicueta, Romelu Lukaku and Marcos Alonso could all follow out 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.