Marina Granovskaia vs Antonio Conte
There’s a power battle at Stamford Bridge between Marina Granovskaia and Antonio Conte. And there’s little doubt about who is winning the fight.
Ever since Chelsea won the Premier League, Antonio Conte’s west London exit has been mooted.
And Conte has seemed more than happy to feed into that narrative as the Chelsea boss has looked and sounded incredibly unhappy for some time.
Despite having a contract with Chelsea until 2019, many believe that Conte could walk out of Stamford Bridge this summer.
Those beliefs are boosted on Friday after the Times lift the lid on the total breakdown between the Blues coach and one of the most powerful women in football: Marina Granovskaia.
Marina Granovskaia & Chelsea
As most Chelsea fans know, Antonio Conte is not in charge of getting deals done at Stamford Bridge.
That jobs rests with Marina Granovskaia: she’s a close adviser to Roman Abramovich, as well as being a club director at Stamford Bridge.
In the aftermath of Michael Emenalo’s exit from Chelsea earlier in the season, it’s believed Granovskaia had subsumed even more decision making power at Cobham.
While it’s now been revealed that she’s no longer talking directly with Conte.
Poor Carlo Cudicini
The Times have lifted the lid of the tensions behind the scenes at Chelsea:
Antonio Conte’s relationship with Chelsea’s key transfer negotiator Marina Granovskaia has become so fraught during this window that they often resort to communicating through Carlo Cudicini, one of the Italian’s assistant coaches.
The pair have clashed over a number of transfers, with Conte understood to have been particularly unhappy with the way that she handled unsuccessful negotiations to sign Leonardo Bonucci and Fernando Llorente last summer.
The situation has worsened since the sudden departure of Michael Emenalo to Monaco in November, as the technical director acted as a buffer between them. That role is now increasingly falling to Cudicini, who is being used as a sounding board by both parties as well as relaying information between them.
Stepping backwards from Granovskaia’s relationship with Conte, the bigger picture seems to be setting up the ‘blame game’ in west London.
It’s looking highly likely that Chelsea will not win a trophy this season. And if/when that happens, the narrative is being shaped that it will be Granovskaia who is hung out to dry, rather than Conte.