Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has often referred to “the club” when asked who signs new players at Stamford Bridge.
So how does the transfer recruitment process work in west London?
Our chief news reporter Bryan Swanson examines the transfer structure in place.
Antonio Conte often refers to “the club” when asked who signs new players. Who does he mean?
Player strategy is set by Conte, but only in agreement with club director Marina Granovskaia. She is responsible for player transactions and has a wider brief, including overseeing the academy and scouting structure, following the departure of Michael Emenalo last November.
Has Emenalo’s departure affected the club this month?
He never had sole control over new transfers, the structure did not allow for it. He worked alongside Granovskaia, a trusted advisor to owner Roman Abramovich, who became involved in Chelsea transfer activity just under a decade ago. Chelsea have yet to replace Emenalo, like for like, and may well be considering another model.
Who has the final say on buying new players?
The transfer sign-off is Conte to Granovskaia to Abramovich. A final financial decision lies with the owner, with Granovskaia in charge of negotiations. Abramovich’s involvement is generally to consider the plan and targets and give them the green light. It is his money, after all, and it is safe to say he has more knowledge of deals being done in each window than some other Premier League club owners. But we are told he does not personally get involved in the specifics of deals or negotiations.
So Granovskaia is the most powerful figure at Stamford Bridge, aside from Abramovich?
On transfers, yes, in terms of finalising new deals. She is one of a three-person club board, which also includes Bruce Buck and Eugene Tenenbaum. Generally speaking they would not be involved on individual transfers. But that is not to say the board are never involved.
Does the structure work?
The system ensures a manager does not have complete control over everything behind the scenes. Chelsea will point to the fact that, since 2009, they have won the Premier League and FA Cup three times, the Champions League, Europa League and EFL Cup.