2. Selling David Luiz at the deadline
Marina Granovskaia and the Chelsea board made one mistake this summer. They violated a nonsensical but long-held rule to offer David Luiz, age 32, a two-year contract. John Terry, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, Ashley Cole and many other players more reliable and more important than Luiz all had their requests for multi-year extensions in their 30s denied.
Luiz, though, in true-to-self fashion, provided a chance for the club to annul this anomaly.
In the final days of the transfer window, Luiz went from the subject of far-flung rumours to Arsenal’s training ground in near-record time.
While the club took a large financial loss on Luiz, selling him for about £25 million less than they paid for him on deadline day three years ago, they sent a powerful message of support for Frank Lampard: If you and the manager don’t want you here, the board will see to it that you’re not here.
Earlier iterations of Granovskaia and the board may have settled for a loan to get Luiz out of Cobham while keeping him on the books for a better price next summer. But they knew that they had already inflated his value with the two-year deal, and would not have a suitor as willing, eager and desperate as Arsenal for an error-prone, locker room-poisoning centreback.
Any money would have been good money for Luiz. Ending his affiliation with the club was strategic communications at its finest. All Chelsea players young and old now know exactly what it means and what it will take to be part of this club.
Whereas last season she was Sarri’s enabler, this time around Granovskaia was Lampard’s enforcer, and she was brilliant in this deal.