On Monday evening Chelsea announced on that that Marina Granovskaia had been named the Best Club Director in European football at the Golden Boy awards ceremony.
“Granovskaia, who has been a Chelsea director since 2013, is mainly responsible for player transactions and contracts.” explained on the club’s website.
“Today she has been honoured in the ‘Best European Manager’ category – akin to director – in 2021.”
2021 has been another impressive year to add to Granovskaia’s strong reputation in world football for her negotiating power in the transfer market. The reaction from supporters was overwhelmingly positive, citing her best recent work, including the £98m deal for Romelu Lukaku.
The signing of Lukaku was a record-breaking deal for the club which gained plaudits, as was the confirmation that academy breakthrough Trevoh Chalobah had penned a new contract that runs to 2026.
But it was a call made at the back end of 2020 which set in motion a season altering decision to shift the course of Chelsea history.
A detailed piece on the demise of Frank Lampard’s tenure from The Athletic cited that Granovskaia had lost patience with the club icon after a steep decline in results that had seen Chelsea pick up only one win in five over the festive period.
The Russian-Canadian had begun making calls to contacts over potential replacements for Lampard and by the time Chelsea were comfortably beaten by Manchester City at home, it was clear his job was under serious threat.
A source claimed in the piece that “Marina said she was considering her strategy, was actively replanning the managerial situation and would get back to them.
“I think they were surprised about that because it was still so early and the managerial market would be better for Chelsea in the summer.”
A variety of prominent names were linked, Leicester’s Brendan Rodgers – who would go on to defeat Lampard in his final league game in charge. Julian Nagglesmann at RB Leipzig before he eventually joined Bayern Munich, Ralph Ragnick too as a potential interim turned down the role.
But Thomas Tuchel, who had been dismissed by PSG near Christmas was available and soon became the first choice, being convinced by the club to join instantly rather than waiting till the summer.
When Lampard fell to defeat at Leicester, Granovskaia had moved quickly to ensure a new coach would be in place swiftly.
It was on the following Monday morning after Chelsea’s win over Luton in the FA Cup that confirmation of Lampard’s dismissal came from the club.
But even before that, it became clear Tuchel was in place to take over, leaving little doubt over what would happen next.
By Tuesday evening, Tuchel’s arrival was announced and the German would take his first training session with the squad before a clash with Wolves on Wednesday at Stamford Bridge.
Even with the emotional reaction to Lampard’s sacking by supporters, that pain was soothed by the clarity over the direction provided by Tuchel’s signing.
By the end of the week the German had overseen his first victory in the dugout over Burnley and a few weeks later the historic run to the Champions League trophy would commence.
If you compare that clarity to the current situation at Old Trafford, it is hard to comprehend how this is supposedly one of Chelsea’s biggest domestic rivals.
Due to the delay to Manchester United’s dismissal of Ole Gunnar Solskjær a variety of top names have come and gone.
Meaning that Michael Carrick, who was Solskjær’s assistant, took interim charge for the time being whilst United reportedly chase another interim to lead the club till next summer, where they hope to appoint the actual long-term replacement.
A truly absurd situation for a club of Manchester United’s size and stature.
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The lack of clarity to this situation summarises the lack of direction at United compare to Chelsea’s ruthless, but very efficient approach which was clearly swift and importantly proactive.
There was little time for uncertainty post-Lampard to creep in which clearly helped the players, staff and supporters to get behind a new vision quickly and the rewards since then has been clear.
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