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Chelsea back in for Luis Campos as long overdue Emenalo-replacement?

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Chelsea have still not replaced former director of football Michael Emenalo, who left the club in November 2017

Luis Campos of AS Monaco during First Training Session of Monaco at La Turbie on June 25, 2016 in Monaco, Monaco. (Photo by Agence Nice Presse/Icon Sport)
Luis Campos of AS Monaco during First Training Session of Monaco at La Turbie on June 25, 2016 in Monaco, Monaco. (Photo by Agence Nice Presse/Icon Sport)
Photo by Agence Nice Presse/Icon Sport via Getty Images

Could Chelsea have finally identified a new director of football? France Football (via Sport Witness) claim that Chelsea have been “in contact” (again? still?) with Luis Campos, currently at Lille OSC.

Often maligned but now often dearly missed Director of Football Michael Emenalo resigned from Chelsea well over a year ago (November 2017, to be exact, though he had communicated his decision to the higher-ups back in the summer already), but the Blues have still not officially replaced him. The Emperor’s Hand, Marina Granovskaia has taken over the role of sporting director in the interim, but it remains unclear if that’s the actual plan going forward as well, or if it’s still just a temporary arrangement — Chelsea did hire a new CEO in the meantime, Guy Laurence, to take some of the (non-football) workload off Granovskaia’s shoulders in the meantime.

Another sign that this might be Granovskaia’s job to keep is that the rumor mill has been largely quiet regarding any replacements. One of the few names who did get mentioned almost immediately after Emenalo departed was Lille director Luis Campos, who made his name at AS Monaco a few years prior, building the team that won the French league and reached the semifinals of the Champions League before being sold off part-by-part. Things haven’t gone quite as well for him at Lille, at least initially, but this season, they’re up to second in manager Christophe Galtier’s first full season in charge — not to mention thanks to the goals of Nicolas Pépé, who was signed by, you guessed it, Luis Campos.

When Campos was first linked with the Chelsea job, back in November 2017, references were made to an interview he had conducted earlier that year, where he spoke about his reservations regarding any potential move to England and his concern that his own strong ideas about building a team would be ignored or would generate conflict (as they had in other places and with other managers, such as Marcelo Bielsa).

Chelsea were once again briefly linked last spring, but the club’s managerial future was very much in flux as well at the time. Now, we’ve got Maurizio Sarri and it looks like we’re trying to make it last for the long haul. He claims to not have a strong interest in the transfer market (beyond signing players he already knows), so it could be a more welcoming situation for someone like Luis Campos.

A very brief mention in today’s France Football (via Sport Witness) may be little to go on, but it might be something that’s worth keeping an eye on — especially as Chelsea will have to navigate creatively for the next couple years with the transfer ban and loan player rules and limits expected to change as well.