Granovskaia's five best decisions at Chelsea amid Stamford Bridge exit
Marina Granovskaia is arguably the most powerful woman in English football, and after almost a decade of work for Chelsea, the Blues transfer guru is set to leave the club following the end of the Roman Abramovich era.
Chelsea’s head of transfers, Granovskaia has been key to the Blues’ incredible success over the years, with the Russian business executive the mastermind behind many of the club’s most important transfers as well as contract renewals.
Whilst some decisions have been complete disasters, such as re-signing Romelu Lukaku and the decision to replace Thibaut Courtois with Kepa Arrizabalaga, there’s no denying that Granovskaia has been one of Chelsea’s most important figures, and her leaving will leave a massive void behind the scenes.
With that in mind, what have Granovskaia’s best moves at Chelsea been since taking over the role as the club’s main transfer negotiator, and what decisions have made the biggest impact on the Blues ahead of the 47-year-old’s departure from Stamford Bridge.
Signing Diego Costa, then offloading him at a profit
One of Granovskaia’s greatest traits was the ability to fetch immense transfer fees for players regardless of their form the previous season or their actual transfer valuation, and Diego Costa could not be a finer example.
Signed from Atletico Madrid in 2014 for a reported £32m after a title-winning season, the Spanish international was monstrous for Chelsea as the striker helped the Blues to two Premier League titles.
However, after falling out with Antonio Conte and the club in the summer of 2017, Granovskaia managed to do the unthinkable and sell the forward back to Atletico for a reported £67m, despite being sold in January and not playing a single minute for Chelsea in the 2017/18 season.
David Luiz leaving for a world-record fee, then returning two years later
David Luiz is a player beloved by many Chelsea fans and neutrals alike, yet even the biggest supporters of the Brazilian were shocked when PSG paid a then-world record fee of £40m for the defender in 2014.
To make things even crazier, Chelsea then re-signed Luiz following the arrival of Conte for a reported £30m, with the Blues essentially making a £10m profit from the defender following his two-year stay in France with PSG.
Beating rival clubs to sign N’Golo Kante
After Leicester City’s historic Premier League title win in 2016, everyone wanted a piece of the squad, with N’Golo Kante, especially, being highly linked to many of the Premier League’s top clubs, namely Arsenal.
However, Granovskaia managed to beat the Gunners and many other English sides to the Frenchman’s signature, with Kante joining Chelsea for £30m and helping the Blues to the Premier League title in his first year in London, with the midfielder also winning the PFA Player of the Year award.
Selling Eden Hazard to Real Madrid for a club-record £150m
Eden Hazard might not have been signed under Granovskaia’s reign, but there’s no denying that the winger’s sale to Real Madrid is arguably one of the best deals a club has ever made in football, with the attacker leaving the Blues in 2019 for a club-record £150m.
Whilst seeing the attacker leave was tough to see, Chelsea are the clear winners from the deal three years after the announcement, with Hazard yet to get going in Madrid as injuries have plagued the attacker’s spell in the Spanish capital, with an exit reportedly on the cards.
Tying Mason Mount and other Cobham talents to new contracts
As well as spinning players for insane fees, Granovskaia has been massive in keeping those at the club down to new contracts, with the Russian transfer guru having a huge role in keeping the likes of Mason Mount and other Cobham talents down to long-term deals.
Whilst some of these haven’t worked out, namely Callum Hudson-Odoi and his reported £100,000-a-week contract, the likes of Mount and Reece James have become two of the Premier League’s best players in their respective positions, and their futures could have been elsewhere had it not been for Granovskaia.