From signing Ngolo Kante to wasting money on Tiemoue Bakayoko – The good and bad of Chelsea Director Marina Granovskaia

Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia has been at the club since Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003, and she is known to be a controversial figure around the Chelsea fan base.

Well-known as the ‘Iron Lady’ by Chelsea fans, this Russian sporting director has a history of being known as a tough negotiator when it comes to transfers.

She is like marmite; some people love her and some people hate her.

1. GOOD- Signing Ngolo Kante for a bargain!

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Ngolo Kante alongside Eden Hazard has been Chelsea’s best player for a number of seasons.

Kante was signed by Chelsea in the summer transfer window of 2016. The season before was the one where he was essential in helping Leicester win the Premier League under former Foxes boss Claudio Ranieri.

With that in mind, you wouldn’t think that the Foxes would sell the Frenchman straight after winning the title.

But enter Marina Granovskaia…

The Russian director managed to negotiate a £35 million fee to bring the midfielder to Stamford Bridge. At the time not much was made of the signing but now every fan (opposition and Chelsea fans themselves) see this as one of the best transfer deals in the club’s history considering the impact he has made to this Chelsea side for a number of years.

2. BAD- Spending £40 million on Danny Drinkwater

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It is clear that Marina loves doing business with the Foxes. Ngolo Kante signing was one of her best transfer deals made with the Midlands club. However, the Danny Drinkwater signing was arguably one of her worst deals.

Deadline day is normally a day where clubs panic buy, and Chelsea and Marina herself fell into this trap in the summer transfer window of 2017.

Drinkwater was signed for Chelsea for the same fee as Ngolo Kante- £35 million. So, in that aspect you would hypothetically say that was a good deal. However it didn’t turn out this way.

Since joining the club, the English midfielder has never nailed down a first team position within the Chelsea set up under a number of managers; Antonio Conte, Maurizio Sarri and more recently Frank Lampard.

As a result, the Blues are trying to get rid of the midfielder but no club are willing to pay near the £35 million pounds that Chelsea spent on the 29-year-old.

This has meant that the West-London club could only loan Drinkwater out to Burnley in the hope that he impresses and furthermore increases his value for Chelsea to sell him.

However, he is also struggling at Burnley and as a result the Blues are struggling to get rid of him permanently.

The Blues may have to lose money and that would be Granovskaia’s fault for overpaying for him.

3. BAD- Overpaying for Chelsea flop Alvaro Morata

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The striker position has always been a poison chalice at Chelsea.

Few strikers have succeeded at Chelsea since the start of the 21st century.

The notable two who have succeeded are Didier Drogba and more recently Diego Costa.

Costa left Chelsea in the summer of 2017.

Granovskaia had the big task of signing his replacement and with the history of Chelsea strikers, this would not be an easy task.

Initially it looked like Romelu Lukaku would return to the Blues, and Alvaro Morata would join Manchester United. But it was the other way round!

Lukaku joined Manchester United and Morata joined Chelsea.

The fee Chelsea paid for Morata was around £58 million rising to £70 million in add ons.

That was a big fee paid by Granovskaia to Real Madrid, and as a result Chelsea fans expected a lot of the Spanish striker.

He had a reputation of scoring a good amount of goals at Real Madrid and previously Juventus.

However like most Chelsea strikers nowadays, he flopped!

Over two seasons for the Blues as their main number nine, Morata scored 24 goals in total.

But his time will be remembered for all the easy chances he missed.

Again this turned out to be another failed signing by Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia.

4. GOOD- Recuperating most of the money for Morata

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Despite failing in overpaying for ex Chelsea flop Morata, Granovskaia did a good enough job in getting most of the money back for the Spanish striker.

In the last transfer window, Atletico Madrid wanted to sign Morata after his impressive loan spell at the club during the 18/19 season.

But the Spanish club weren’t willing to pay the asking fee that Granovskaia set out.

The Russian director agreed a deal where they take Morata back on loan for this season, but must pay £58 million once the loan expires at the end of this season.

That was a good deal considering the fears that the Blues may not make even half the money back for the striker.

5. BAD- Signing Bakayoko for a ridiculous fee!

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The 2017 summer transfer window was the time where Granovskaia grew a bad reputation among the Chelsea fan base.

Another factor which caused many Blues fans to turn against her was the signing of Tiemoue Bakayoko.

Granovskaia paid Monaco £40 million rising up to £50 million for the French Midfielder.

Again, this signing was very unsuccessful in the end.

The 25-year old struggled mentally and physically to adapt to the Premier League and a result was loaned out to AC Milan and then back to former club, Monaco.

6. GOOD- Getting good deals for Chelsea stars who now play for Real Madrid

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Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois were two Belgian players who were vital to Chelsea’s team for a number of seasons.

But both had aspirations whilst playing for Chelsea of signing for Real Madrid.

Courtois was the first player to leave the Blues for Madrid. £35 million was the fee agreed between the two clubs.

Now that doesn’t seem a lot but the way Courtois forced his way out of the club in such a disrespectful manor made the fee seem a lot as Chelsea fans just wanted rid of him in the end.

The next player was Eden Hazard. The Belgian winger was loved by Chelsea fans and still is today. The reason he is still loved and Courtois isn’t anymore is due to the way he left the club.

The fee agreed between the two clubs on this occasion was a fee rising to £130 million. For a player who was going into the final year of his contract, this was a good deal for the West Londoners.

The deals that Granovskaia has done with Real Madrid has proved a lot of her haters wrong.

7. BAD- Signing Zappacosta on deadline day!

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No one really knew much about Davide Zappacosta…

But this was the full back who Marina Granovskaia and the rest of the Chelsea board signed on Deadline day of the summer 2017 transfer window.

The Russian director spent £23 million to sign the Italian fullback from Torino, and again it has turned out to be a failed signing.

The 27-year-old is currently out on loan to Roma, but these failed signings by Granovskaia have been shown in the number of players who have been loaned out to various clubs in recent seasons!

8. BAD- Sacked Conte prematurely

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Antonio Conte won the title in his first season (2016/17) as Chelsea manager.

The season after was difficult though. Despite struggling in the following season (2017/18), he still managed to win a FA Cup for the club.

But the Chelsea board including Marina Granovskaia decided to sack the Italian coach despite his successes in two seasons at the club.

9. GOOD- Hiring Maurizio Sarri showed a change in philosophy which all Chelsea fans wanted

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After Conte was sacked, the process of hiring a new manager began for the Blues.

Most Chelsea fans wanted a manager who would bring an attacking philosophy to the club.

Chelsea hadn’t had an attacking manager since Gianluca Vialli. The Blues had appointed many pragmatic managers before Maurizio Sarri like Jose Mourinho, and Antonio Conte etc.

But Granovskaia listened to fans and appointed Maurizio Sarri who was known for his attacking and expansive style of play with Napoli.

This showed that she understands what direction the fans want this club to go towards which is a positive sign.

10. GOOD- Appointing Frank Lampard as Chelsea manager

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Unfortunately it didn’t quite work out for Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea due to personal reasons in the end.

Him leaving at the end of last season after winning the Europa League final against Arsenal meant that Granovskaia and the rest of the Chelsea board had to appoint another manager.

With a transfer ban, the role didn’t really appeal to many managers other than Frank Lampard.

The Russian director took a gamble on Lampard and it has so far paid off.

Appointing Frank had reunited the fan base and has made this season one of the most exciting seasons to be a Chelsea fan due to his use and development of the Chelsea youth.

So credit has to go with Granovskaia for making this appointment.

Published by danyalkhan2000

Sports Journalism second year student at University of Gloucestershire

One thought on “From signing Ngolo Kante to wasting money on Tiemoue Bakayoko – The good and bad of Chelsea Director Marina Granovskaia

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