BY PAUL LAGAN
It’s getting a bit lonely if you are the cleaner of Chelsea’s boardroom these days.
Normally, at this time of the year, it would be a hive of activity with a host of people beavering away looking busy.
The phones would be ringing, fax machines would be whirling and deliveries of late-night food would be a regular occurrence as the daylight hours turned into night and still they worked.
Chelsea’s top brass would be just a text away from landing another big deal, be it a star striker for a world record fee, or loaning out an unwanted player trousering in the mega-bucks.
As it stands the only occupier is co-owner Todd Boehly, who has taken it upon himself to handle the ins and outs at Stamford Bridge this transfer window.
Transfer chief Marina Granovskaia, chairman Bruce Buck and Chelsea goalkeeping legend Petr Cech, who provided that pivotal link between changing room and boardroom and helped with international negotiations with agents, have all gone.
Boehly wants none of that. He wants to do it his way. To be fair it was always going to be this way.
No one, least of all a consortium of investors who have ploughed £4.5million – the world’s biggest team transaction in professional sport – wants to be associated with the previous owner.
There was a reason why the club was for sale, and the simplest response is to lance the boil, as they see it, that oversaw it.
Boehly will have his hands full from today, when players are officially allowed to leave the club when contracts expire.
It’s when those late-night deals set up months ago come into fruition. In truth it’s when Chelsea really started doing business.
Now Boehly will have to play catch-up. It will be an impossible task to do business the way it was done before at SW6. so he will do it American-style.
He will hope to land players by swapping some of his own for one of theirs.
But the European market simply does not operate that way. They prefer cash to bodies.
Agents won’t be bullied into dumping their player where the selling or loaning club wants them to go.
It’s a buyer’s market not sellers, as in the States.
The latest bigwig to exit the Bridge is a sad one for many fans. Cech, who had the title of technical and performance advisor, said in a statement which saw him empty his desk on Tuesday that it was he who decided to leave SW6.
“It has been a huge privilege to perform this role at Chelsea for the past three years,” said Cech. “With the club under new ownership, I feel now is the right time for me to step aside. I am pleased that the club is now in an excellent position with the new owners, and I am confident of its future success both on and off the pitch.”
Cech was instrumental in bringing in Edouard Mendy from French outfit Cech’s former club Rennes.
Cech, who was within the coaching structure during Frank Lampard’s tenure as head coach, would sit in the press box watching the games.
He soon moved across the pitch to watch the games from the directors’ box where he was giving that advisory title.
Cech will be best known for his goalkeeping heroics on the pitch for the Blues. But off it, he will be known as the man who faced up to an angry mob of Chelsea supporters who demonstrated outside Stamford Bridge as Chelsea opted to be part of the now infamous European Super League.
It was brave of him, but he had the message that they wanted to hear and that the club was pulling out of the deal.
Quite how many deals Chelsea will be able to pull off this transfer window remains to be seen.
Exciting days ahead down Fulham Road – pity the boardroom is empty though.
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