Thomas Tuchel and Marina Granovskaia in battle over Chelsea’s summer signings

Chelsea director and transfer supremo Marina Granovskaia has had a move vetoed by manager Thomas Tuchel. Granovskaia was open to selling left-back Marcos Alonso to Barcelona, but the Chelsea coach has stepped in to block the move.

Barcelona are on the hunt for a left-back this summer as they look to build strength-in-depth, and had reportedly earmarked Alonso as a top target for the position.

The Spaniard saw limited Premier League opportunities last season, with new manager Thomas Tuchel preferring Ben Chilwell at left-back.

Alonso made just 17 appearances in all competitions across the campaign, comfortably the fewest of any of his five seasons at Chelsea.

But despite the 30-year-old’s lack of playing time, Tuchel is keen to keep Alonso at the club due to his tactical flexibility, with the player able to play as a full-back, wing-back or on the left of a back three.

And, when Barcelona came calling, Tuchel stepped in to override Granovskaia and insist that he wants to keep Alonso “at all costs”, according to Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo.

Barcelona, who are expected to complete a sale of Junior Firpo to Leeds, will have to turn their left-back focus elsewhere. While Chelsea’s transfer tsar will also be looking to rediscover her midas touch.

Granovskaia’s ruthless spending last year saw the club bring in Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech before many of Chelsea’s Premier League rivals had even got the ball rolling on their transfer window business.

But the 2021 transfer operations aren’t progressing so quickly for Roman Abramovich’s right-hand woman, with the hunt for a striker also stuttering.

“Chelsea will certainly buy a new striker but no decision has yet been made,” transfer expert Fabrizio Romano said. “Borussia Dortmund are hoping to keep Erling Haaland, while Romelu Lukaku is not on the market at the moment.”

The lack of transfer activity is not a disaster for the European champions. But manager Thomas Tuchel did reveal earlier this summer that he is keen to bring in extra quality to the squad if possible.

“Two or three [signings] could be very, very good. It’s a constant thing to never deny change,” Tuchel said.

“That always brings new energy, new guys who question the old beliefs, who challenge everybody in the training and in matches, so I think it’s a good thing.”

“We don’t need another seven and another complete turnover … but we have some ideas, of course, to make the group stronger, and I think this can always be a positive thing to challenge all of us.”

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