Newly appointed AS Monaco Sporting Director Michael Emenalo has revealed how former Ghana boss Avram Grant played a key role in his breakthrough at Chelsea since 2007.
The former Nigerian footballers who is highly credited for making influential signings for the English champions has disclosed that his relationship with Avram Grant created an enabling environment for him at Chelseas, making him the most powerful person at Chelsea after the owner Abramovich.
The Abia State-born football man, as a matter of fact, stated that two things worked for him at Chelsea: “One, making friends come very easy. When I played for Lleida in Spain, I also made friends with Juando Ramos, my coach there, and at a point he wanted to take me to Tottenham Hotspur. We are still friends today.
“I also made friendship with Avram Grant in Israel and it was Grant who encouraged me to come to Chelsea when I was working for some soccer academy and I started recruiting for Chelsea. I was involved with Mikel Obi transfer from Lyon in 2005, and Grant said I should come full time to restructure the youth programme, which is the kind of things I love to do,” he told the media.
Emenalo joined Chelsea in October 2007 alongside Avram Grant and was later made an opposition scout and first-team coach under Carlo Ancelotti.
He assumed the role of technical director in 2011 and was pivotal in player recruitment, bringing through the likes of Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois at Stamford Bridge.
Emenalo had several jobs with Chelsea before being promoted to technical director in 2011. While in charge of recruitment, the club bought several notable players including Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois or N’Golo Kante.
He also helped make the Chelsea Academy one of the most competitive in Europe, winning the UEFA Youth League in 2015 and 2016.
However Chelsea endured a frustrating transfer window last summer, missing out on several key targets, including Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United, while key midfielder Nemanja Matic was also sold to Old Trafford.
Emenalo eventually fell out with both owner Roman Abramovich and manager Antonio Conte, and left the club at the start of November. He had been blamed for the lacklustre summer of transfers.