Where are they now? Granovskaia’s first 10 signings as Chelsea director

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Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas celebrating the goal vs West Brom, December 2016

Chelsea’s Executive Director Marina Granovskaia has earned herself a reputation as one of European football’s top administrators since taking her current job in January 2014, dealing with some massive transfers in that time.

The ‘Iron Lady’ became something of a wheeler-dealer, and Chelsea have seen an exceptionally high turnover of players in her time at the club. Her ability to negotiate a sale and spot a bargain have been a key reason for Chelsea’s recent success.

However, for every successful Kante or Rudiger, there have been some disastrous arrivals, as well as sales which the club would later regret.

Six managers have now worked under her in seven years, and whilst Thomas Tuchel has worked well with her strategy of control, others such as Frank Lampard and Antonio Conte were reportedly unhappy at her influence over signings.

Chelsea have won six major trophies since she took her current role, meaning she must be doing something right. We’ve taken a look at her 10 first signings to see how they fared.

Bertrand Traore

Traore actually had a trial at Chelsea two years before his official arrival, but was confirmed as Granovskaia’s first transfer, signing a four-and-a-half-year deal in January 2014. He would play 10 league games for the club, scoring twice, before departing for Lyon after two loan spells.

The winger was impressive in three years at Lyon, such that Aston Villa paid £17million for his services in September 2020. He has played 40 league games for the Midlands side.

Nemanja Matic

The Serbian midfield powerhouse was one of a number of players who would have two spells at the club. Initially sold to Benfica in a swap deal for David Luiz in January 2011, Granovskaia made it a priority to bring Matic back, and signed him for £21million.

Matic was brilliant in his second spell at Chelsea, earning a place in the 2014-15 PFA Team of the Season and winning two League titles before departing for Manchester United for £40m in 2017.

Over three years of great performances followed by a large profit, this was one of Granovskaia’s very best deals.

Mohamed Salah

Probably Chelsea’s biggest regret, the Egyptian winger was highly rated at FC Basel, and Chelsea brought him to England for £11million in January 2014.

After scoring one league goal for the club, in a 6-0 demolition of Arsenal, and struggling to get into the team under Jose Mourinho, he was loaned out to Fiorentina and Roma, before joining the latter permanently for around £13million.

That £2million profit may have seemed decent enough at the time, but it is now laughable.

Not many could have predicted that Salah would eventually become one of the Premier League’s greatest-ever players at Liverpool, but there will always be a sense of ‘what could have been’ when Granovskaia thinks of this deal.

Salah has had the last laugh, with multiple goals against the team who deemed him not good enough.

Kurt Zouma

The French centre-back was coveted all over Europe as a teenage prodigy, often called the next Rafael Varane, and it was Chelsea who secured a deal for him in January 2014, immediately loaning him back to Saint-Etienne.

After a few loan spells, Zouma became a solid defender, but was sold to West Ham this summer for £30million. A tidy profit for a player in a position where Chelsea are well stocked.

Cesc Fabregas

Signed in the first summer window of Granovskaia’s reign, the former Arsenal captain wanted to leave Barcelona in search of more playing time. Arsenal were heavily linked with the Spanish midfielder but it was Chelsea who ended up landing him for around £30million.

It was money well spent, as Fabregas racked up 18 assists in his first season in blue as Chelsea strolled to the title. Fabregas spent four and a half years at Chelsea, winning two titles, before joining Monaco in 2019.

His Chelsea debut also saw one of the great Premier League assists.

Diego Costa

Goals. Fights. Character. Aggression. Diego Costa had it all, and after leading Atletico Madrid to a shock La Liga title and Champions League final, he joined Chelsea in the summer of 2014 to replace the outgoing Fernando Torres.

The Brazillian-born Spaniard hit the heights in west London, scoring 52 league goals in 89 games, winning two titles, and managing to wind up Arsenal on multiple occasions. It was all going well for Costa, before falling out with Antonio Conte, and returning to Atletico.

Granovskaia managed to turn a large profit on the striker, who was on the decline at the time of his departure, and this can be considered a successful deal all around.

READ: 11 of Diego Costa’s best sh*thouse moments: Ramos, Gabriel, Can & more

Filipe Luis

At the time, snapping up one of the world’s best left-backs from Atletico Madrid for £18million to replace Ashley Cole looked to be one of the bargains of the 2014 window.

However, Jose Mourinho’s insistence on using right-back Cesar Azpilicueta at left-back meant there was no room for the Brazillian, who returned to Atletico just one year later for £14million.

A £4million loss and no memorable moments, this was not one of Granovskaia’s shrewd finds.

Loic Remy

After failing a medical at Liverpool earlier in the summer, many were surprised when Chelsea opted to sign Loic Remy from West London rivals QPR after a successful loan at Newcastle.

Activating his £10.5million release clause, Remy was brought in as cover for Diego Costa following the departures of Demba Ba and Samuel Eto’o.

Remy did what was asked of him, playing a rotational role, but did score some crucial goals as Chelsea won the title in his first season. After two seasons he was eventually loaned out and released. For that price, there can’t be too many complaints.

Didier Drogba

The Chelsea legend, who left the club in 2012, returned to his old stomping ground on a free transfer from Galatasary in the summer of 2014, to provide additional attacking cover alongside Loic Remy.

Scoring four league goals in his one season back, there was nothing to lose by having the veteran around, before his eventual departure to Montreal Impact in MLS.

READ: We still can’t believe how good Didier Drogba was in cup finals for Chelsea

Juan Cuadrado

Not Granovskaia’s finest deal, Chelsea parted with £23.5million and sent Salah to Fiorentina on loan in exchange for Cuadrado in January 2015, but the winger failed to adapt, and after 13 league games and zero goals, Cuadrado was sent packing.

He was loaned out and eventually sold to Juventus for around £20million, meaning not too much financial damage was done, but Cuadrado to this day remains one of Chelsea and Granovskaia’s more questionable deals.


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