Michael Emenalo quits as Chelsea technical director with Antonio Conte’s future uncertain

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Updated: November 7, 2017
Michael Emenalo has ended his 10-year association with Chelsea following his sudden departure as the club’s technical director as questions continue to mount over Antonio Conte’s managerial reign at the club.

The news surrounding the 52-year-old, who could be set to join Monaco, will come as a major blow to owner Roman Abramovich. 

Abramovich had used the Nigerian as a soundboard in west London – with him among the few people he trusted and took advice from.

‘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 in a statement posted on Chelsea’s official club website.

‘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.’

Emenalo’s departure was keenly felt by Conte who put on record his gratitude towards his contribution.

‘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.’

The Blues have won the Premier League title three times, the FA Cup, the League Cup, the Europa League and the Champions League while Emenalo has been at the club.

The latest Premier League triumph came under current boss Conte in his first season in English football. However, the Italian’s second campaign has proved less successful so far.

Emenalo watched Chelsea beat title rivals Manchester United 1-0 at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon – sitting behind the Blues’ dugout. 

The win in west London was without David Luiz – who was omitted from the squad after falling out with Conte.

Conte’s bust-up with Luiz is the latest falling-out between the manager and a star player at Chelsea. He has previously fallen out with Diego Costa and Nemanja Matic, who both left the club.

The manager was defiant at full-time, saying the Brazilian could face a lengthy spell out unless he learns to get on with his team-mates.

Speaking to Sky Sports, the manager said: ‘Christensen is 22 years old, he showed great personality, for sure he is the present and the future for Chelsea, the same for Ampadu.

‘David Luiz has to work with the others if he deserves to play, otherwise he will stay on the bench or in the stands.’

Conte was the 10th manager appointed during Emenalo’s time in west London and the former has been highly critical of Chelsea’s transfer activity this summer.

The former Juventus boss has bemoaned the lack of options available to him despite a summer window that brought in Alvaro Morata, Antonio Rudiger, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Danny Drinkwater, Davide Zappacosta and Willy Caballero.

Conte’s protestations have come due to the departures of key personnel from their title campaign last season in Nemanja Matic and Costa – although the latter’s relationship with the Italian was beyond repair.

However, as a result of his frustrations at Chelsea’s transfer dealings – relations between Conte, Emenalo and director Marina Granovskaia became strained at times.

Emenalo first joined Chelsea with Avram Grant in 2007 before working his way up to technical director four years later. He has been largely responsible for player recruitment and Chelsea’s vast youth network.

However, he has often been seen by some as at fault for transfer flops and the increasing amount of young players sent away on loan.

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