Frank Arnesen resigns as Chelsea sporting director
Arnesen joined Chelsea from Tottenham in 2005
Chelsea sporting director Frank Arnesen has resigned from his position and will leave at the end of the season, the club have announced.
The 54-year-old has spent five years at Stamford Bridge, his role including managing the club's youth development.
The Dane, who previously worked at Tottenham, said he was leaving to "seek a new challenge".
"It has been a privilege and an honour for me to work for such a big club with so many great people," said Arnesen.
"It has been a tremendous journey and I would like to thank everyone at Chelsea, especially Roman [Abramovich, the Chelsea owner], for giving me the incredible opportunity to help build on the club's academy and youth system along with our greatly talented academy and scouting staff.
Frank has done an exceptional job here at Chelsea over the last six years and the incredibly strong academy and youth system Frank leaves behind him is a fitting tribute to his time at Chelsea
Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck
"We are now seeing the fruits of that labour as our stated aim was to get one player from the academy into the first team each year from 2010.
"We have a great crop of young players now coming through, and I feel it's the right time for me to start looking towards a new challenge.
"It is always difficult to take big decisions like this, but it is entirely my decision.
"I will always be grateful to the club and Chelsea will always be in my heart."
Blues chairman Bruce Buck added: "Frank has spoken to me several times over the past year with regards to seeking new challenges, so his decision comes as no surprise to us.
"Frank has done an exceptional job here at Chelsea over the last six years and the incredibly strong academy and youth system Frank leaves behind him is a fitting tribute to his time at Chelsea.
"We do appreciate that he has given us plenty of notice which gives us time to consider whether and how we restructure the football department."
Arnesen's resignation is the second high-profile departure announced by the club in a matter of weeks after long-serving assistant manager Ray Wilkins left earlier in the month.
There has also been speculation about the future of manager Ancelotti, but the Italian responded at a press conference on Monday by saying: "These rumours [of me leaving] are untrue. I've no idea where they've come from."
Chelsea started the season in commanding form but have lost three of their last four Premier League games and lead the table only on goal difference from Manchester United.
In recent seasons, Chelsea have reduced the lavish spending that characterised the early years of Abramovich's reign, an approach that has seen greater first-team opportunities for some of their academy players, including forward Gael Kakuta, defender Jeffrey Bruma and midfielder Josh McEachran.
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