LONDON: Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo has stepped down from his post after 10 years – and 11 managers – with the club.
The 52-year-old, who played for Nigeria at the 1994 World Cup, joined Chelsea in 2007 under Avram Grant, for whom he played at Maccabi Tel Aviv.
He worked in both scouting and coaching departments at Chelsea before being promoted to technical director in 2011.
His departure in midseason will inevitably prompt speculation that he has paid the price for the club’s controversial transfer strategy which has included the stockpiling of more than 30 players out on loan, the starring roles of former Chelsea men Kevin de Bruyne and Nemanja Matic as title rivals Manchester City and United respectively, and the clumsy exit of Diego Costa.
During Emenalo’s time at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea won the Champions League in 2012, plus three Premier League titles, three FA Cups, the League Cup and Europa League.
He said: “This has been a very difficult decision to make, but one I believe is right for both myself and my family, and the club.
“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.”
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte said: “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.”
Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck said: “It is with regret that the owner and board of directors accepted Michael’s resignation this week. We are sorry to see him go but understand his desire to move on and explore new challenges.”
Emenalo, who played for Notts County in the 1990s and in the first MLS game, has been linked with a role at Monaco.