Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has returned to London for the first time since 2018 and some key meetings with club figures could well be on the cards.
The primary reason for the Russian to return is apparently to visit family he has not been able to see in years because of issues with his entrepreneurial visa.
While the man whose money turned Chelsea into the force they are today was present at 2019’s Europa League triumph in Baku and in Porto for the Champions League win earlier this year, he has not been able to visit Stamford Bridge.
However, having recently obtained an Israeli passport, he has been able to travel into the UK without a visa, leaving him free to do as he pleases again.
One person who may want to speak to him while he is in the country is director and Chelsea transfer chief Marina Granovskaia.
Also Russian, Granovskaia served as Abramovich’s assistant for 10 years before moving into her current role.
She is known as one of the best club directors in the game and was a key figure in brokering a £60million deal with Nike, as well as a host of big-name signings.
So what could be on the agenda if the pair were to meet during Abramovich’s latest visit?
The German has become a firm fan favourite in west London since Thomas Tuchel’s arrival following a rocky spell in the aftermath of his arrival from Roma.
However, concerns continue to mount that Rudiger could leave the club for free at the end of the current campaign as negotiations over a new deal continue to drag on.
The Blues are apparently reluctant to bow to the defender’s demands immediately as he approaches his 30s, with previous poor form also still fresh in the memory.
An opinion from the money man could be needed.
Matthijs De Ligt
With Rudiger’s future up in the air, attentions have reportedly turned to potential replacements.
Jules Kounde was strongly targeted during the summer transfer window but Chelsea were unwilling to match Sevilla’s asking price, leaving the Blues without their man.
A new centre-back was always going to be high on Tuchel’s wishlist but were Rudiger’s contract situation to remain unresolved, they may be forced to act earlier.
Juventus centre-back Matthijs De Ligt has been strongly linked with a move to Chelsea in recent weeks and a strategy of approach could well be discussed while Abramovich is in the country.
Having announced plans for a huge renovation of Stamford Bridge back in 2017, it is clear that Abramovich and those on the Chelsea board have grand ambitions for the club’s future.
A stunning structure with 50 meter beams over the pitch were released in prototype form, with London Mayor Sadiq Khan even saying it would be the “jewel in London’s sporting crown”.
The plans were put on hold in 2020, as the club waited for financial conditions to improve, but it would not be a surprise if Abramovich remains eager to revamp the ground, particularly with the praise going the way of Tottenham after their own new build.
With this being the first time the owner has returned to London since the plans were shelved it could well be brought up again in any potential meeting.
Source by Football London