All the major deals sealed by Chelsea in the last 10 years bear his signature. In 2009, the controversial renewal of Drogba after the Iniestazo at Stamford Bridge; in 2013, the return of Mourinho despite the fact that Abramovich was not for work; the great agreement with Nike until 2032 for 1,000 million euros; the advantageous transfers, among others, of Hazard and Morata; the millionaire signings last summer in the middle of a pandemic worth 247 million; the commitment to the Academy that now supplies the first team …
Marina Granovskaia (Moscow, 46 years old), of Canadian origin, a dance and music student with a degree in Languages from her hometown State University, is the executive director of Chelsea. And nothing that happens at the club is beyond his control. Including the costumes, which he knows as if he had cameras and microphones. Check everything. The economic area and also sports since Michael Emenalo, the theoretical sports director, left. His trusted men on this plot are now former player Peter Cech and Scott McLachlan.
Discreet, without social networks since 2007, she hardly appears in public except to pose on the day of signing a signing. As respected as it is feared. It lasts in the negotiation no matter what issue is on the table. She is only accountable to the owner, Abramovich, the businessman who brought her into his oil company, Sibneft, in 1997 and who did not hesitate to make her his personal assistant when he moved to London and bought Chelsea in 2003.
They say that his springboard to success was to bet hard on the renewal of Drogba after the Ivorian was sanctioned for six games for his insults to the referee, Ovrebo, after the second leg of the semifinals against Barcelona in 2009. He bet on continuity of the forward and Drogba scored the equalizer in the final against Bayern in 2012. After extra time, Chelsea won on penalties and won the only Champions League in their history.
Granovskaia has made a football career step by step. He was never in a hurry. His protector marked the times. From personal assistant of the owner to executive without stripes within the organization chart of the club. She later jumped into the staff and in 2014 she was appointed executive director with command in place. In 2018 Forbes chose her as the fifth most powerful woman in the world of sports. Little is known of his private life. Neither of their tastes. Those who have negotiated contracts with her assure that she is more of a “business woman than a football expert. It is very direct. You don’t like repetitive calls or endless email exchanges. If you have already made up your mind about what is being discussed, it is difficult for you to change your mind. Take it or leave it”.
It has a reputation for squeezing in purchases and sales. Last summer in the German press he was accused of espionage in the signing of Havertz. It was written that he was gathering private information about the possible weaknesses of the directors of Bayer Leverkusen, Rudi Voller (sports director) and Fernando Carro (general director), and thus pressuring to lower the amount of the operation. The German club asked for 100 million and Chelsea paid 80.
The management with Real Madrid for the transfer of Hazard was also highly valued in England. Chelsea reported that the operation had been closed at 115 million euros plus an additional 40 million according to the additional clauses. The Belgian footballer was then 28 years old and had one year left on his contract. Another success that Marina Granovskaia claims is the sales of Óscar, Ramires, David Luiz and Morata, which brought in close to 220 million euros. In the middle of the pandemic, it has achieved a positive balance of 38 million. Her negotiating skills have helped her earn nicknames such as the ‘iron lady’ or the ‘transfer madam’.
Historically Chelsea has never been a club recognized for its excessive care of the quarry, nor has its first team lived off players trained in its lower sections. The cases of Bonetti, Osgood, Le Saux … are the exception that confirms the rule. Even John Terry, the last great player to grow up at Stamford Bridge, spent four years in the West Ham youth teams, before landing at the Blue Club in 1995. What’s more, when Abramovich bought the club from Ken Bates in July 2003 it didn’t exist. as such the Academy, which, however, now offers an extraordinary production, quantified in titles and players for the first team.
The London club took advantage of the sanction imposed by FIFA for irregularities in underage signings to give the opportunity to its most qualified footballers who were already beginning to prove their worth in domestic competitions and, above all, in the Youth League, the U19 Champions. In its seven editions, Chelsea was champion in 2015 and 2016 and finalist in 2018 and 2019.
Although Hiddink, in 2016, had given Abraham and Tomori a chance, and Conte had made their debut for Hudson-Odoi, Chalobah, Musonda, Aina and Boga, it was Frank Lampard, pressured by the market closure, who definitely opted for the Academy . Mount, James and Gilmour (signed from Rangers at the age of 15) will debut with him. Half a dozen players, some who came to the club as children, are now in the professional squad and all have reached internationals: Mount, Christensen (arrived from Brondby at the age of 15), James, Abraham, Hudson-Odoi and Tomori (on loan to Milan in January).