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Prospective new Chelsea owners ‘consider’ Paul Mitchell for Director of Football — report

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AS Monaco - Press conference - Ligue 1
This guy fucks
Photo by Pascal Della Zuana/Icon Sport via Getty Images

Once the new owners of Chelsea Football Club are in place — hopefully within the next month! — one of the first orders of business for them will be to determine the administrative structure of the club, and putting (or keeping!) the right people in charge in the right places.

Some of those decisions are obvious, such as keeping the Academy structures and supporting Thomas Tuchel. Some are less so, for various reasons. The future of Marina Granovskaia, for example, is uncertain. We might or might not want her stay; she might or might not want to stay herself. Reports have claimed that all prospective owners understand her importance to the current club setup, but that doesn’t mean they would want to keep things unchanged — nor does it mean that there isn’t room for improvement.

Even if Granovskaia were to stay, she might not have as much power responsibility as currently, where she’s essentially a one-person show. We’ve been operating without an official Director of Football since 2017, when Michael Emenalo left. Petr Čech’s official title remains just an “advisor”; Scott McLachlan is the chief scout; Guy Laurence is the CEO focused on the marketing and commercial activities.

Granovskaia has developed a fearsome reputation around Europe as a tough negotiator, but she might not be too keen to agree a role of lesser import and influence at the club, one that would presumably be more strictly focused on such negotiations. That is speculation on my part, but there’s a report from The Athletic’s David Ornstein this morning that at least two of the three final bidders for Chelsea are “considering” Paul Mitchell in preliminary discussions about the Director of Football situation at the club.

Mitchell, currently with AS Monaco and also on the radar of many other big clubs, has been credited with leading the excellent player recruitment and development processes at MK Dons (2010-2012), Southampton and Spurs with Mauricio Pochettino until falling out with Daniel Levy (2012-2017), and RB Leipzig (2018-2020).

As we enter a new phase as a club where money won’t be growing on trees, more focused recruitment and planning processes will be required. We will need people like Mitchell and Granovskaia (and Čech and McLachlan), and we will need them to work together on a unified vision.