Former Arsenal playmaker and Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson claims he was left "shocked" when he learned that Marina Granovskaia and Petr Cech would be leaving the Chelsea hierarchy.
The Blues faced a turbulent few months in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The London club was placed under sanctions due to former owner Roman Abramovich's close ties with Russian president Vladimir Putin. Chelsea were eventually bought out by a consortium led by American businessman Todd Boehly, who also owns the Major League Baseball side Los Angeles Dodgers.
Boehly has wasted no time in restructuring the club in an attempt to get rid of any trace of the previous regime. Club Director Granovskaia, along with legendary former goalkeeper and current Technical and Performance Advisor Cech, will be leaving Stamford Bridge at the end of the month.
Former England playmaker Merson admitted he was surprised by the decision to allow the pair to leave the west London club, as he told Sky Sports:
“I thought the people who came in would keep Petr Cech in his position and Marina Granovskaia, who has done a great job at the club.
“You keep them there, shadow them. It’s not easy, it’s not baseball and basketball where you’re doing trades. This is professional football and I’m quite shocked those two have left the way they have.”
Petr Cech describes role at Chelsea as "huge privilege"
The retired Czech Republic international will forever be remembered as a Blues legend. He holds the Premier League record for most clean sheets and was in goal for the club's first Champions League victory in 2012.
Despite the 40-year-old's incredible popularity at Stamford Bridge, it appears as though no one is safe from the Boehly-led overhaul of the club. Upon news of his departure, Cech said in a statement (per The Telegraph):
“It has been a huge privilege to perform this role at Chelsea for the past three years. 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 appointed by Granovskaia three years ago and has been instrumental in a number of transfer and football decisions. Former teammate and Blues boss Frank Lampard gave Cech credit for the signing of goalkeeper Edouard Mendy for an absolute bargain price.