Explained: Chelsea’s restructure and the roles of Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart

As Chelsea brought in the signatures of the first 12 teams across the first two transfer windows of the ownership of Capital Todd Boehly and Clearlake for the initial commitment in transfer fees of more than 500million ($615m$), the division of services within their most active recruitment. the operation of understanding the rest of the football world is difficult.

Not already. At the end of the January window, which saw seven new players acquired by Cobham and Lyon in relation to Malo Gusto earlier in the summer, Chelsea moved to restructure their senior football management team as two of their widely announced recruits, Laurent Stewart from AS Monaco and Joe Shields from Southampton officially begin work .

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Stewart and Paul Winstanley, who were recruited by Brighton & Hove Albion at the start of November to serve as global director of talent and transfers, will be appointed as sporting directors. The pair will assume overall responsibility for driving Chelsea’s football operations, including transfers, talent identification and recruitment strategy.

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Reporting to Stewart and Winstanley will be technical director Christopher Vivell, who will take on a more global focus as Chelsea look to build a multi-club model in the coming years. The rest of the senior team under co-directors includes Clippers, head coach Graham Potter, recruiting analyst Kyle Macaulay and long-serving data manager Matt Hall. Head of youth development Jim Fraser will also be fully integrated as the club looks to make mass recruitment efforts in select young talent.

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Further hires are expected to be involved in Chelsea’s data and scouting operations in the months ahead, but Boehly and Clearlake co-founder Behdad Eghbali now believe they have their core in place. Both men have been heavily involved in Chelsea’s first two transfer windows since the change of ownership, with Eghbali working for the club alongside Winstanley to sign Mykhailo Mudryk under the noses of rivals Arsenal and Enzo Fernandez on deadline day.

Fernandez completed his move to Chelsea on deadline day (Photo: CARLOS COSTA/AFP via Getty Images)

Boehly and Eghbali have a large portfolio of business outside of Chelsea and while the owners are expected to remain active in the playing field, Winstanley and Stewart will be able to develop an approach to recruitment, analysis and analysis. mechanical scouting of the transfer and contract negotiation.

That, of course, will not prevent managers and executives at other clubs from taking proposed transfers directly to Eghbali and Boehly, who took the title of interim sporting director last year after the departure of Marina Granovskaia and Petr Cech. It is to be hoped, however, that this will establish their structure as Chelsea Winstanley and Stewart as the first points of contact for anyone interested in dealings at the club.

The two men internally seem to have different but complementary strengths: Stewart, whose previous role at Monaco was technical director, is more focused on speculation and player performance, while Winstanley is more experienced in the realms of transfer business and talent management – the track. Marking it increased with Chelsea’s primary recruitment in a very busy January window.


Stewart joins Monaco after the break (Photo: AS Monaco FC)

Chelsea’s senior reshuffle is also intended to signal a significant change in strategy. After repeatedly breaking records in transfer fees in the summer of 2022 and January 2023, Boehly and Clearlake want to invest more modestly in the recruitment in the coming windows. It is likely that that statement was greeted with great skepticism outside Stamford Bridge, given the scale of the market movements at the time, and actions more faith than words.

But the idea – publicly and privately voiced by many in the football world in recent weeks – that Chelsea are out to disrupt and disrupt the market has not been confirmed by the club. Large transfer fees were agreed upon for players like Fernandez and Mudryk, who, including the precepts, dominated only one aspect of the investment; All of the January signings are considered to be in sensible, motivated salaries that have been designed over time to help Boehly and Clearlake to raise the overall salary bill to a more sustainable level compared to the Roman Abramovich era.

Chelsea are also likely to continue with longer-than-average contracts, where they are eligible, despite UEFA’s move to cap the length of time they can transfer wages for Financial Fair Play (FFP) purposes to five years from next summer. The reason is that these extended commitments benefit the club by protecting the resale value of young and (hopefully) better assets, while also benefiting the players, who get greater security of income in case of injury.

Stewart and Winstanley are now in a position to hold talks that will shake up these strategic decisions, with Boehly and Eghbali keen to maintain a collaborative culture at Cobham following the departure of Granovskaia and Cech last year, so everyone is involved. the process is entered.

Chelsea’s ownership group has been adamant since taking charge last summer that they wanted to build a world-class sporting and winning team. With these structural changes, they believe they have taken a big step towards achieving that goal.

(Photo: Dionysius Lovrovic/AFP via Getty Images)


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