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How Marina Granovskia silenced her critics as Hakim Ziyech signs for Chelsea from Ajax

Less than two weeks ago Chelsea fans were up in arms. The transfer window was drawing to a close with no incomings and many were questioning why the club went to all the bother of getting their transfer ban halved in that Court of Arbitration for Sport appeal.

Much of their criticism was directed towards Marina Granovskaia. Now, 13 days later those same fans are extolling the director’s business savvy approach. Funny how quickly things can change.

The decision to sign Hakim Ziyech from Ajax in the summer for £33million, potentially rising to £36million, looks like a bargain and, ultimately, considering what happened last month is just good business.

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The Dutch club were unwilling to let the Moroccan go midway through a campaign in which they are chasing a league title and also competing in the Europa League having finished third in Chelsea’s Champions League group.

Despite that Erik ten Hag, the manager, last night said that Ajax were surprised to have kept him in Amsterdam for so long and it felt inevitable that he would move on to bigger things.

For some time Ziyech has been their creative star – anyone who saw his wand of a left foot in action at Stamford Bridge in November will concur as he contributed to three of his team’s goals in the 4-4 draw – and losing him midway through the season would have been a considerable blow to their silverware hopes.

Chelsea, meanwhile, were not willing to pay a ludicrous fee for a 26-year-old attacking midfielder who was under contract until the summer of 2022 but dialogue between the clubs continued and progress over a summer sped up considerably in the past few days.

Supporters are often so emotionally invested in their teams that they forget for those who manage the purse strings it is a business.

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