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Frank Arnesen handed a seat on the Chelsea board


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Frank Arnesen has secured his future at Chelsea by agreeing a new 12-month rolling contract and being made a director of the club. Chelsea have invited Arnesen, the club’s chief scout and director of youth development, and Mike Forde, the performance director, to join the football club board, a six-strong body responsible for devising and implementing their footballing strategy. Guus Hiddink has not been asked to join because he is employed as manager in a temporary capacity and is planning to leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season.

Arnesen’s existing four-year contract is due to expire in the summer, but he will be moved on to a rolling deal that effectively makes him a permanent member of staff. The Dane appeared to be under pressure earlier in the season after failing to deliver a single player from the club’s youth set-up for the first team since joining from Tottenham Hotspur in 2005 — this intensified when 15 of 25 scouts were sacked in November — but he has succeeded in reinventing himself in a different role.

Arnesen’s brief after being poached from Spurs at a cost of £5 million was to overhaul Chelsea’s global scouting and youth development programme, with the aim of introducing one new player to the first team every season. Since the departure of José Mourinho in 2007, however, the former PSV Eindhoven general manager has become more involved in first-team affairs, taking on the title of chief scout and playing an influential role in the club’s transfer policy.

While his expensive youth development programme has yielded relatively little, with only Miroslav Stoch coming through to play any part for the first team, Arnesen’s input on player acquisitions is regarded highly and he is seen by Roman Abramovich, the owner, as a valuable source of advice.

Forde, who joined Chelsea from Bolton Wanderers two years ago, will also take a seat on the football club board, which operates alongside the executive board, responsible for the day-to-day running of the club, and under the PLC board of Peter Kenyon, Bruce Buck and Eugene Tenenbaum. Arnesen and Forde have attended football club board meetings for some time and have been invited to join formally to make them legally accountable for their decisions.

The football club board was formed in the summer of 2007 in an attempt to streamline an unwieldy decision-making process, with many of Abramovich’s informal aides offering contradictory advice. In this regard it has been successful, because despite the continued input of a disparate group of individuals, Chelsea is a more harmonious organisation than during the Mourinho era. Avram Grant and Luiz Felipe Scolari, the former managers, sat on the board, but Mourinho did not because he was sacked as manager soon after its formation.

Hiddink also attends board meetings in an informal capacity and provides advice regarding summer transfer targets, but his main concern is to ensure that Chelsea end this season with as much silverware as possible. The Dutchman has already achieved more than what was expected of him when he took over from Scolari in February, but prefers to give credit to the players and yesterday praised the selflessness of Frank Lampard in accepting his substitution against Barcelona with good grace.

The England midfield player was replaced after 71 minutes by the more defensive Juliano Belletti, and despite looking slightly bewildered by the decision as he returned to the bench, he did not complain afterwards.

“We have a very good attitude in the team so that when it is necessary even big players like Frank have to go off,” Hiddink said. “Whatever the reason might be — it might be tactical or other reasons — it is accepted and it is great to have those big players when they have the right attitude. If it is necessary for the result, we do that.

“We don’t play with just ten outfield players, we play with 13 outfield players and the attitude to that is perfect.”

Source: Timesonline

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