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Emenalo, right, with Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim

Michael Emenalo comes back to haunt Chelsea

Chelsea former technical director Michael Emenalo has come back to haunt the club by persuading Aleksandr Golovin to snub a move to Stamford Bridge and join Monaco instead.

Emenalo quit his role at Chelsea last November and became sporting director at Monaco just three weeks later.

Chelsea were favourites ahead of Juventus for Golovin’s signature this summer, and CSKA Moscow team-mate Sergey Chepchugov even appeared to congratulate the Russia midfielder on social media at the weekend over securing a move to Stamford Bridge.

But Golovin has agreed a five-year deal to move to Monaco instead and barring a last minute U-turn, will complete the move after undergoing a medical on Thursday.

Aleksandr Golovin

Vice-president of Monaco, Vadim Vasilyev, claims Golovin has chosen them because the 22-year-old has been convinced he will play more regularly at the Ligue 1 club.

Vasilyev said: “Monaco and CSKA Moscow have finally agreed the transfer of Golovin. They [the negotiations] were complicated. Until the last moment I was not sure that I would be able to complete this transfer.

“At a meeting with one of the leaders of the Turin club (Juventus) in early May of this year, I heard that Aleksandr’s transfer to their team was a decided deal.

“However, our main competitor was Chelsea. I believe that Monaco offered more favourable conditions for the club and a more understandable project for the player.

“Chelsea is a top club, who I treat with great respect, but the midfield is overloaded. In my opinion, Aleksandr can definitely play in any of the leading clubs in the world. But it will take him some more time, he is in a transition stage.

“Monaco can be a springboard for Golovin, look at our formers players who now perform in leading European teams.”

Despite Vasilyev’s claims about offering better terms, CSKA accepted bids of around £26.7m from both Chelsea and Monaco and told Golovin he could decide where he wanted to go.

Golovin, who starred for Russia at the World Cup, opted for Monaco as Chelsea are set to play with three midfielders under coach Maurizio Sarri this season and he has fears over game time.

The Blues currently have Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Cesc Fabregas, Danny Drinkwater, Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek who can all play in those positions.

It is the second time this month that Emenalo has got the better of his former employers.

He also encouraged Chelsea’s talented academy star Jonathan Panzo, who was part of England Under-17s World Cup winning squad, to leave west London with a year left on his contract.

Monaco still had to agree a fee for the highly-rated defender as he is under 24, but were considered to have got a bargain at just £2.5m.

Chelsea have been linked with Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic over the past week, but he will cost considerably more than Golovin and could be using their interest to merely get a better contract with the Italian champions.

By Simon Johnson.  This piece first appeared in the Evening Standard.

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