CHELSEA manager Maurizio Sarri is ‘being made to look a bit of a fool’ by director of football Marina Granovskaia.
That is the opinion of football operations consultant Ian McGarry.
Sarri joined in the summer and was informed that the club’s transfer activity runs through Granovskaia, who worked with owner Roman Abramovich on previous business ventures.
The extent to which is Sarri is not involved in recruitment came to light last week following the signing of Christian Pulisic, whom the Italian manager had merely given his positive appraisal on a couple months prior.
Cesc Fabregas’ mooted transfer to Monaco is now bringing Sarri’s obliviousness to light once more, with the manager publicly acknowledging the player’s impending departure, only for the move to stall.
McGarry used to work as a journalist before moving into football consultancy, and spoke of how Granovskaia’s business style is beginning to embarrass Sarri.
“The Fabregas one is interesting in the sense that the player himself, I’m told, believed that everything had been agreed with the club and that his transfer to Monaco was plain-sailing,” McGarry told the Transfer Window podcast.
“Then [he] was told yesterday morning that he should not travel to Monaco to sort out personal arrangements, and by that I mean a house, because that’s how far down the line he believed things were.
“Because not only had a fee not been agreed, but Sarri publicly said in a press conference that Fabregas should leave because he needs to play football, he’s 31 and he doesn’t fit into his style of play.
“Granovskaia then said: ‘Well no, you can’t leave until we sign a replacement.’
“When she effectively contradicts the manager and says ‘this player can’t be sold until we find a replacement’ – that seems a little odd.
“And I’m not sure Sarri, who’s kind of no-nonsense in his approach to these things, might be best pleased at the way this has been handled because he’s being made to look a bit of a fool given his public comments and how things have transpired since.”
McGarry then went on to question the structure of the club, and how much influence Granovskaia has over the manager.
“Marina Granovskaia is known to be a hard negotiator. She’s had increasing control of Chelsea’s transfer policy for a good 10 years and it’s becoming more and more the case with managers who are more willing to accept that she is the boss rather than them,” McGarry continued.
“And we know that Maurizio Sarri, in terms of negotiations like the one that saw Christian Pulisic sign a contract with Chelsea this month but be loaned back before joining full-time in the summer, that was something that Sarri was made aware of rather than consulted on, despite the fact he’s been in the job six months.
“When you think about that in terms of the football department at Chelsea, you have to say: well, who is exactly managing this club?
“Because Granovskaia is historically Roman Abramovich’s personal assistant and she has been put into Chelsea to administrate there and has been there for 13, 14 years now.
“Her influence has increased to the point where she is not just chief executive, but effectively runs all aspects of the football club in terms of recruitment and sales.”