Marina Granovskaia remaining a part of Chelsea’s structure for the short-term is absolutely vital to the club’s transfer ambitions
Barely any Chelsea supporters have ever heard Marina Granovskaia speak. Her actions have been at the forefront of how her reputation has been built, how the perception of the club’s “iron lady” was forged behind closed doors in secret negotiations and transfer dealings.
But for those in attendance at the annual Golden Boy awards before Christmas, where Granvoskaia was recognised as the Best Club Director in European football in 2021 at a ceremony in Italy, the Russian-Canadian uttered words that would recently come to the attention of fans online.
“I was surprised an individual award for my job in football even exists.” she joked, quickly turning her praise to the club and team. “Maybe if there is one secret about Chelsea or if there is a secret for our success, then it is probably the people that create that environment that allows us all to be successful”.
Those who have met Chelsea’s respected director have all relayed her ability to be disarmingly charming, her ability to make people feel at ease, before bending a conversation to her perspective. Even if it was a brief 36-second clip, fans got a glimpse into that perspective.
It is these qualities that have allowed Chelsea to remain ahead of the curve, able to gain progress in major transfer deals and maintain important relationships. As Chelsea’s process of being sold comes into its final stages, a process Granvoskaia will have influence over, it is imperative she remains a core part of the club for at the very least, this summer.
Her power and influence in the club have only grown over the last decade and in relation to transfer business, it remains a mystery how new ownership is going to approach the imminent summer window. A period that as recently as one month ago, felt vital for the club’s ambitions with multiple players targeted. Names that have become familiar to fans, but have also been aided by Granvoskaia’s negotiations.
Sevilla’s Jules Kounde, a player who seemed destined to arrive in west London last summer has not dropped off the Blues’ radar, with reports emerging from Spanish outlet Sport that Sevilla is ‘doomed to sell’ their star defender this summer, with previous negotiations with Chelsea already some way down the line last year.
Journalist Fabrizio Romano recently reported that Chelsea were leading the race for £50million-valued Leeds United winger Raphinha before the UK Government’s sanctions on Roman Abramovich. Monaco’s Aurelien Tchouameni has been a widely known target for over a year now, with Declan Rice’s potential return to his boyhood club always remaining a dream.
With the aim by Raine that a deal will be concluded by May and the subsequent lifting of sanctions, Chelsea has a lot of work to do in the transfer window. Not only with desired signings for Thomas Tuchel but potential sales, contract negotiations with the likes of Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta and more.
It would be flippant to dismiss Granvoskaia’s expertise so suddenly, even if her departure following Abramovich might appear to some as a matter of when and not if. In a dream scenario, Chelsea would keep their admired director, in a new structure with her at the forefront of negotiations where her reputation has been built.
Even if a specialist sporting director or other personnel entered the club, replacing the wisdom of Marina Granovskaia will cost more than any deal they could do this summer.