Chelsea, from oligarchy to state intervention

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There was a time when Roman Abramovich served as Chelsea’s sporting director In fact, His most personal operation, which brought him further controversy with the consultants who made up the Technical Secretariat, was the signing of Fernando Torres in 2011. Club staff reminds him of being restless around the offices, chasing everyone who warned him that spending 60 million euros in Torres was a terrible idea. With a laptop, he went in search of opponents to show them the video of the then Liverpool striker’s final goal. One day, one of Torres’ most critical technicians was stunned when the Russian – at the time the most fluid person on the planet – without blinking an eye and looking critically at him as a rabbi confessed: “I started my own business. Buying a toy factory; If I get richer than that, how can I not know if a footballer is any good?

Abramovich never got tired of owning Chelsea, but he soon grew fed up with the difficulties of sports management and daily life at Stamford Bridge headquarters. It didn’t take him long to appoint a representative with full powers: Marina Granovskia, his first partner in Perestroika’s venture to manufacture and sell plastic dolls in Moscow.

The sports directors of half of Europe knew him as dankoby analogy character from the film of the same name, Russian policeman played by Schwarzenegger. More than inflexible, the staff castigated him as a man with a precocious character whose standards were always as decisive as they were indecent. One day she was flattered by a penista, and the next she acted as if she did not recognize her most respected interlocutors.

“That organization was the chart,” says an agent working for Chelsea, who, like all internal sources, prefers anonymity, and who indicates that Abramovich has been a right-hand man in decision-making and executing strategic tasks over the past decade. was in charge of From the signing of Thomas Tuchel to the construction of Cobham’s sports city.

Around Granovskia were a bunch of managers, executives, commission agents and employees – Guy Lawrence, Ray Wilkins or Michael Amanello among others – who pretended to have great jobs, but who actually devoted themselves to the easy life. , gave advice from time to time. , and getting a bigger salary without half the pressure from the authorities of clubs like Manchester United or Liverpool. With a moderate social gathering for the Premiere, no more than 35,000 customers, Chelsea is the third club in London to contribute international players in England (52). They are followed by Tottenham (78) and Arsenal (64). There was no media pressure, no pressure environment, no big story, which was a comfortable place to deal with. Siberian oil money flowed inexorably and crises, if they did occur, thanks to the atmosphere of peace that was breathed around Granovskaya’s mandate, a landlocked and sleepy corner of the bourgeois district. Thanks to the Supreme Sovereign, who was among his neighbors. Virginia Woolf, Margaret Thatcher, Bob Marley or Thomas More.

Nineteen years after the arrival of five premiers and two champions Abramovich, with the deployment of Russian troops to Ukraine’s eastern border, in early February employees closest to the owner began to see strange changes in the provincial ecosystem. Bridge,

The most dangerous calls came with friends in the Ministry of Defense. He warned them about the convenience of staying away from the club and not using their phone to contact anyone, let alone Abramovich’s trusted people. Fear soon spread among all those who had a deal with the Russians, who were suspected by the state to build an espionage network in the service of the Kremlin. When Vladimir Putin ordered the offensive on 24 February, Marina Granovskia and her countrymen disappeared from Stamford Bridge without a trace. Since then, the offices have been taken over by British government officials whose recognized mission is to freeze Abramovich’s assets. Some of these agents respond directly to Boris Johnson’s commission, such as when Downing Street ordered a ban on selling tickets to fans to be lifted or when the first team’s travel budget was increased because of the planned £20,000 a charter fare. But taking it was not enough. flight, according financial Times,

3 billion pounds

On 12 March, the Premier, under pressure from the government, prompted Abramovich to put the club up for sale. The businessman arranged for the American commercial bank the Rhine to handle the organization of the auction. According to experts, the market value of Chelsea is not more than 1.5 billion euros. But the auction is inflationary. Led by Todd Boehley, Josh Harris and Tom Ricketts, the head of three groups of US billionaire investors, the bids are close to £3,000 million.

Now the government is facing a contradiction which it cannot easily resolve. His intervention in the club borders on forfeiture in a legal system whose priority remains free market stimulation to attract foreign capital. Sources close to Chelsea indicate that the administration follows the wire. On the one hand, it wants to show that it is punishing the Russian oligarchs by depriving them of their wealth. On the other hand, it promises legal certainty – Abramovich should at least, fair price – and a charge of moral rigor in the controls of the auction, lest the new owners paint a worse image than the Russian, who now loved very much. fan.

With regard to succession, the most commonly reported issue by newspapers in England is the rejection of Ricketts’ bid by supporters’ associations. He has been accused of some alleged xenophobic remarks by VC Joe as a reason for incompatibility with the ownership of such an inclusive club. Guardian, many times And Daily Telegraphannounced that there would be a demonstration against Ricketts’ racism at Stanford Bridge this Saturday, and this alarmed the government. The fact that the protesters were a minority group – not to say insignificant – among the crowd of 40,000 fans who packed the stadium to watch Chelsea lose 1-4 against Brentford. Inside the field they did not hang a banner pointing to the auction. Nor was there considered a denial of Abramovich, who was unquestionably the author of over 1,000 million euros of sunken investments in soccer players, when no one cared that he visited the Kremlin from time to time. . People came to the game, drank their pinch, sang without mentioning any struggle, and went home early. Efield Road was deserted around 7 pm. Only passersby were seen walking the dog among the graves of Brompton Cemetery.

As announced, neither Hyundai nor telecom company Three, the two sponsors, withdrew their logos. As rumored, the players also did not stop collecting their salaries. More will be missing. “Now the club is protected by the state”, observes a businessman close to the team. It is not only property in the custody of the United Kingdom. Chelsea, more than ever, are a promotional vehicle in their own right.

Tuchel’s concern and players in danger of being disbanded

If Chelsea succumbed to a spectacular (1-4) against modest Brentford this Saturday, it was not because players feared not getting their salaries after the club’s government intervention in an attempt to freeze Abramovich’s assets . The players haven’t missed a cent and are guaranteed by the British government that their contracts will be respected. If Chelsea sink it was not because there was a covert strike, but because the team has been showing signs of losing faith in Thomas Tuchel for months. The conflict began when, as soon as they won the Champions League, the coach asked the club to sign Lukaku, without fear of showing his contempt for attackers such as Werner, Havertz or Ziyech, whom he described as immature. . Since then, the widening of the gap has not stopped, without the coach depriving him of his experimental vocation in a line-up such as Loftus-Cheek, a midfielder whom he gave control of midfield to the detriment of Jorginho.

Chelsea’s institutional crisis hasn’t deterred the players. opposite of this. This has prompted him to show off, as most are convinced the club’s new owner will form his squad and send an incoming coach – Tuchel knows he will most likely be fired – to prioritize the players who are to come. . According to a businessman who works with Chelsea, agents for Jorginho, Werner and Havertz have warned their clients that the change of ownership threatens their listing. Football players signed by Abramovich believe they will risk being on the bench if they continue next season. With this burden due to future contract renewals, many players are looking for a destination to relocate and thus retain their professional reputation.

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