Danish director's fate could depend on result of Kakuta appeal...Having announced that Ron Gourlay will take over from the departing Peter Kenyon as Chelsea's chief executive, the position of sporting director Frank Arnesen is the next to come under intense scrutiny.
Arnesen has seemingly emerged the victor in his ongoing power-struggle with Kenyon, who will officially leave his position on October 31, and retains favour with the club's owner Roman Abramovich – for now.
Kenyon had been left increasingly ostracised since February, ever since Abramovich dismissed manager Luiz Felipe Scolari while the 55-year-old was on holiday. In recent months the Englishman's duties have been steadily diminished, however, it now appears Kenyon could yet have the last laugh.
Kenyon will lead Chelsea’s appeal to FIFA over the Gael Kakuta affair, alongside club chairman Bruce Buck. But if the duo fail to reduce the two transfer window ban — as a minimum — imposed for allegedly making Kakuta break his contract with Lens, Arnesen will be the fall guy.
The 52-year-old has enjoyed increasing influence in recent months over all footballing aspects at Stamford Bridge, but his close involvement in the signing of Kakuta has brought his position back under threat.
A Blues source told Goal.com that Kenyon’s exit was planned two weeks ago, but was delayed because of the Kakuta fall-out that could yet deal the hammer blow to Arnesen.
“A number of differences with Eugene Tenenbaum [Chelsea board member, and Abramovich's closest aide] were too many for the owner to stomach, and he above all else wants a Champions League trophy,” the Blues insider said.
“Ron Gourlay is a very safe pair of hands and has great business acumen, but Peter leaving is no big surprise. But he is a very wily guy and will not be happy with the way the last few months have panned out."
The future of Arnesen will depend on the success of the club's appeal.
“The next few weeks are crucial for Chelsea Football Club and if the owner does not receive a positive conclusion with FIFA, heads will no doubt roll and no one is safe. Ultimately, everyone is responsible for their own actions," the source said.
On the other hand, a successful appeal could see a line drawn under the whole sorry affair:
“Kenyon’s exit was planned a while ago but the Kakuta situation may well ensure he leaves in a blaze of glory.”
Goal.com also contacted a number of senior Chelsea figures, but most refused to comment on the matter. One simply stated, “You know as much as I do."
Kenyon, who was not present at last week's Premier League clubs meeting, insists he simply “out-grew" his role at Chelsea.
“When I joined Chelsea it was an incredible challenge and together with all the staff, the players, the board and Roman I think we have really built a club that can be in the forefront of European football for many years to come," Kenyon said.
“I intend to take a little time off before considering what I do next but I am certain I have at least one major challenge left in me.”
Kenyon, along with former Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry and Birmingham chief executive Karen Brady, will no doubt be linked to many high profile roles in the coming weeks. He has already been mentioned in conjunction with positions at both Manchester City and Inter Milan.
For Arnesen, however, a nervous wait looks to be in store as it appears his own future at Stamford Bridge will depend on the success, or otherwise, of Kenyon's FIFA appeal.
Mohammed Bhana and Alex Dimond, Goal.com UK