Chelsea are stepping up their search for a new technical director following the departure of Michael Emenalo in November last year.

Just weeks after having left the West London club, Emenalo joined Ligue 1 club Monaco in a similar position and the Blues had decided to keep his Cobham office empty, with club director Marina Granovskaia taking on the bulk of the Nigerian’s responsibilities. Granovskaia has supervised the club’s transfer signings and loanees over the past two transfer windows with the West London club electing to prioritise their managerial situation instead of rushing in a replacement for Emenalo, as the club hierarchy felt a successor may need time to adjust to the job.

Embed from Getty Images

But with the arrival of a new head coach in Maurizio Sarri and the current transfer window about to shut close, Chelsea feel the time has come to pinpoint candidates for the technical director role and ultimately appoint one. Dan Ashworth, the current technical director of the Football Association, has emerged as a prime candidate, with the former West Ham sporting director understood to be interested in a return to club football. Former Chelsea stalwarts Juliano Belletti and Michael Ballack are also being considered as potential replacements, as is the highly-regarded Monchi of Roma.

It is believed Manchester United’s search for someone in a similar position has made Chelsea step up their pursuit, with reports emerging that Ashworth and Monchi have figured in both club’s list of candidates. While Sarri has previously indicated his indifference towards the transfer window, it is understood the former Napoli schemer would like to forge a close relationship with whoever gets appointed and may favour someone who speaks his native Italian. Reports also indicate the Stamford Bridge outfit are yet to finalise whether they will hire someone with the same job specifications, as Granovskaia is keen to continue overseeing the club’s transfer negotiations.