Michael Emenalo has stepped down as Chelsea’s technical director but is already being targeted for a return to football with Ligue 1 giants Monaco, according to The Independent.
Emenalo has been a key cog in the Chelsea machine under Roman Abramovich but has seen his role increasingly under pressure in an internal power struggle between Marina Granovskaia, a key Abramovich confidante, and manager Antonio Conte.
Conte’s future beyond this season is by no means secure but the manager himself is not thought to be a reason for the Nigerian’s departure.
Indeed, Emenalo helped bring Conte to Stamford Bridge and has overseen transfers, women’s football and youth development while the former Juventus boss won a Premier League title in his first season. What the Premier League champions do to fill the void left by Emenalo’s departure is still uncertain and will be decided at the top of the club by Abramovich in consultation with directors Eugene Tenenbaum and Granovskaia.
And senior Blues sources say it was no surprise to them that Emenalo stood down as the former Notts County defender, who played at the 1994 World Cup in the US, had made it clear to Chelsea as far back as the summer that he was considering his future and he is understood to want to spend some time with his family before making any decision over his next challenge.
“This has been a very difficult decision to make, but one I believe is right for both myself and my family, and the club,” Emenalo said upon announcing the move.
“I have had the privilege to work alongside some of the most talented people in the world of sport over the past 10 years, and I will depart incredibly proud of the achievements we have made. I wish Chelsea every success and look forward to following the club’s future triumphs from afar.”
Conte added, “I am very sorry to see Michael leave Chelsea, and I would like to thank him for all his help and support since I arrived at this club. I have enjoyed working with him very much, we celebrated a Premier League title together in May, and I wish him the very best for the future.”
According to reports, Monaco are interested in his services as they look to solidify their place among France’s elite and as a perennial Champions League team. The sharp increase in Ligue 1 television revenue has allowed them to further invest in a club that raked in enormous transfer income last summer.