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Chelsea tab former fan favorite as potential Michael Emenalo replacement — report

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Chelsea v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images

UPDATE:

Here’s a nice motivational tweet from Belletti, posted the day after this rumor broke, with him pictured perhaps not coincidentally in a Chelsea shirt.

“The prize for managing to fulfill a task is an even bigger task.”

Hmm...


PREVIOUSLY:

Chelsea have yet to fill the void left by technical director Michael Emenalo’s departure in November, with Marina Granovskaia taking over most of the responsibilities that the role entailed in scouting and transfers, adding to her already expansive responsibilities in transfer negotiations.

Chelsea did hire a new CEO, Guy Laurence, to oversee the administrative side of things, but the technical side of the operation, as far as we can tell, remains under Granovskaia’s purview. A few rumors aside (PSV’s Marcel Brands or Lille’s Luis Campos come to mind), Chelsea have not been seriously linked with any candidates for a new technical director.

The latest isn’t a serious rumor yet either, but it is at least a familiar name. According to the London Evening Standard, former Chelsea cult hero / fan favorite / utility player Juliano Belletti is a potential target for the role. (Belletti’s Barcelona-connections could also dovetail nicely with potential Conte replacement Luis Enrique’s name, though they never actually played or worked together for the Blaugrana.)

Since retiring from playing in 2011, a year after being released by Chelsea, Belletti has stayed in football, mostly back in his home country. He founded a club in his hometown, he worked as a pundit on Brazilian television, ran a football magazine, and he also gained a few coaching badges. Most recently, he’s fulfilled ambassadorial roles with Barcelona as well as Coritiba. His lack of experience as a technical director is apparently not an obstacle for the Blues, who are possibly hoping that he’d grow into the role much like Emenalo did over the years. Belletti’s appointment would likely keep most of the “power” in Granovskaia’s hands, at least initially.

While it’s impossible to tell how much difference Emenalo may or may not have made, Chelsea’s first transfer window without him in about a decade has not been too impressive, to say the least. The club seem to be experiencing a serious lack of direction, and that probably has plenty to do with his departure. He always had a pretty clear vision of how he wanted to go about things — we may not always have agreed with this loan armies and young(er) player purchases, but at least the direction was quite consistent.

There is plenty of upheaval and uncertainty behind the scenes at Chelsea these days, with the vacant technical director position only adding to all that. But whether it’s Belletti or Brands or whoever else coming in, if anyone, the club need to set a direction, figure out a plan, and execute it flawlessly.