After three transfer windows without a Director of Football, Chelsea are apparently ready to find a proper replacement for Michael Emenalo, who left the club in November 2017. The Emperor’s Hand, Marina Granovskaia had been deputizing for Emenalo, but she already had a full-time job as Chief of the Chelsea Universe as well as the owner’s eyes and ears and will and executor, before taking on those extra duties as well. Without getting too much into a discussion of football vs. non-football personnel, Granovskaia has surely needed help just in terms of the workload, if nothing else.
It’s taken a while, but rumors have started picking up, which surely indicates some behind the scenes activity. Lille sporting director Luís Campos was looking to be a strong contender, but it would appear that the former Monaco architect has chosen AS Roma instead, as reported by Goal’s Bruno Andrade. While it’s just a “verbal agreement”, there’s already talk of transfer plans (Thiago Mendes and David Neres) and the like for the man set to replace Monchi, who had recently returned to Sevilla.
Luís Campos já indicou dois nomes para reforçar a Roma na próxima temporada. Ambos são brasileiros: David Neres e Thiago Mendes https://t.co/d3pdX7VuVl— Bruno Andrade (@brunoandrd) April 11, 2019
But no worries! Just as one contender’s gone, another one emerges, right? Come on down, Paul Mitchell, not of hairstyling, but of footballing ... fame?
The former Wigan and MK Dons player, who retired at 27 due to a leg break in 2009, has built a solid reputation as a “recruitment” specialist over the past decade at MK Dons, Southampton, Tottenham — working with Mauricio Pochettino at both Saints and Spurs — and most recently, RB Leipzig in Germany. He’s been credited with identifying and helping his various employers acquire the talents of Sadio Mané, Dele Alli, Toby Alderweireld, and, most recently Amadou “new Naby Keita” Haidara, among others.
Mitchell’s eye for talent has not gone unnoticed. There are a host of clubs looking to tempt him away from Leipzig, including Manchester United and Arsenal, who share Chelsea’s dire need for a technical director, as well other German teams, such as Schalke 04 and Borussia Mönchengladbach.
However, incoming RB Leipzig manager, Julian Nagelsmann, has already made it clear to his future employer that keeping hold of Mitchell is imperative to both his work and the growth of the club. Contract extension talks are already underway and Leipzig plan to give their man even more responsibilities by making him “Head of Global Football”. Basically, Mitchell would become one of the most powerful people in the footballing department of the Red Bull company.
So what does this mean for Chelsea? The club’s aimless way of going about our transfer business, the seemingly random signings of overpriced yet painfully average players to block development pathways of homegrown talent, the scattershot approach to satisfy the whims of each manager coming through the revolving door, then leaving the same managers high and dry at the next time of asking has created a broken, bloated team. There seems to be no overarching philosophy, no clear mission statement for Chelsea’s player recruitment department (at the first-team level), if such a department even exists at all.
Appointing Luis Campos or Paul Mitchell could provide Chelsea with some much needed guidance and expertise the club’s currently lacking. Or if those two are unavailable, which it very much looks like is the case, somebody — anybody! — else who actually knows what they’er doing (i.e. not just an ex-player or familiar name).
It is of course up to
Marina Granovskaia Roman Abramovich make that call. It can only be a matter of years now.