Michael Emenalo has shocked Chelsea by deciding to step down from his position as technical director.
While speculation has been raging over the future of head coach Antonio Conte, Emenalo has decided to bring his 10-year association with the club to an end.
The move may be viewed in some quarters as a victory for Conte, but Emenalo has remained supportive of the Italian who he helped to appoint last year.
Emenalo’s decision is a huge blow to Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, who counted the 52-year-old among the few people he trusts and takes advice from.
With his help, Chelsea have won the Premier League title three times, the FA Cup, the League Cup, the Europa League and the Champions League while Emenalo has been at the club.
Conte is the 10th manager Emenalo has worked with and the former Notts County player has been a vital element of the Abramovich era.