Marina Granovskaia is set to become the next high-profile exit at Chelsea after the club confirmed that Bruce Buck has agreed to relinquish his role as chairman.
Buck is due to leave his post on 30 June, with the club’s new co-owner Todd Boehly set to replace him, and it is understood that Granovskaia is poised to become the next to step down. The Russian-Canadian took charge of Chelsea’s transfer business during the Roman Abramovich era and her departure is now widely expected. Clarity over Granovskaia’s future could arrive this week, with sources suggesting an announcement could be made as early as Tuesday.
Chelsea have not commented on Granovskaia’s position. It has previously been suggested that she could see out the rest of the transfer window before making a decision on her future. If, as expected, she does not leave now it would underline the amount of change that has taken place at Stamford Bridge since Boehly completed his takeover with Clearlake Capital last month.
Granovskaia leaving would heap more responsibility on Boehly, who has taken charge of negotiating Romelu Lukaku’s loan to Internazionale. Boehly wants to give Chelsea’s manager, Thomas Tuchel, more power over recruitment, though the club could soon find themselves needing to appoint a director of football. They have been linked with Atlético Madrid’s Andrea Berta.
Granovskaia had in effect run Chelsea on Abramovich’s behalf in recent years. She started working for the club’s former owner in 1997 when she joined Sibneft, the oil company formerly owned by Abramovich, and moved to London when the Russian-Israeli oligarch bought Chelsea in 2003.
Granovskaia has looked after transfers and player contracts since 2013. She has developed a reputation as a tough negotiator and has remained active in the current window. She has also worked closely with the club’s technical and performance adviser, Petr Cech. However, Chelsea are in a period of change and it is unclear if Granovskaia would enjoy the same level of power under the Boehly‑Clearlake consortium.
The formulation of the new board is still being finalised but key figures have already left. Guy Laurence has quit as chief executive and Buck’s departure was announced on Monday morning. The American, who will take on a senior advisory role, has been Chelsea’s chairman since 2003. “Now is the right time to step down and let new ownership build on the strong foundations we have in place,” Buck said. “The owners have a compelling vision for Chelsea’s future and I look forward to helping them achieve it.”
Chelsea remain in talks with Inter over the terms of Lukaku’s loan. They want Inter to pay a €10m fee for the £97.5m forward and cover his wages. The Serie A club’s owner, Steven Zhang, has yet to sign off on the deal.
Meanwhile Chelsea could face competition for the Sevilla centre-back Jules Koundé from Barcelona, though the La Liga club could struggle to afford the France international.