Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo quits with Monaco keen

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

Michael Emenalo has stepped down from his role as technical director
Michael Emenalo has stepped down from his role as technical director

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.

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 World Cup 1994 for Nigeria, 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."

Should Emenalo wish to return to work anytime soon then 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.

5 key moments that won Chelsea the title

Emenalo is one of a number of candidates that the principality club are looking at to strengthen and oversee their sporting infrastructure and that includes scouting and identifying talented youth players and channelling them into the first-team – something Emenalo has had immense success doing in west London. They have also considered approaching Barcelona’s under-fire sporting director Robert Fernandez for a similar post.

The lack of pathway from academy to first team at Stamford Bridge has been a significant issue for Abramovich, but Monaco are keen to blood young talent and are looking to create a similar sort of money-spinning model employed by FC Porto and Benfica where they develop and make profits on the continent's best young players. ​

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