Michael Edwards, Luis Campos, Paul Mitchell, and now Christoph Freund. These are just some people Chelsea They are closely linked as they look to appoint a new sporting director.
All suggestions, as it stands now, is that Freund, who has done well at Red Bull Salzburg, is the favourite. He barely underestimated the importance of the idea when asked about it after Champions League A group match between Chelsea and the Austrian club at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, as pictured above.
“Chelsea is a huge club in transition,” Freund told Sky Sports Austria. I can’t say exactly what will happen in the next few weeks and months. You shouldn’t rule anything out in football, Chelsea is a huge club. But I’m the sporting director of Salzburg and I really enjoy it.”
It is understood that World Health Organization You will fulfill the role that has captured the most attention so far.
But little has been said about him Why Chelsea’s new owners want the position and what role are they expected to play.
After all, Chelsea just spent Premier League They posted a £250m ($286.9m) surplus in the summer transfer window without a sporting director, so it’s not as if they were struggling to add new talent to the squad.
The first thing to make clear is that this isn’t a surprising idea that crept into the minds of the Todd Boehly-Clearlake Consortium. The appointment of a sporting director has been on their agenda since they were subject to due diligence while considering buying the club earlier this year.
Chelsea had people in top positions at the time, but Influential director Marina Granovskaya, technical and Performance advisor Peter Cech And international scout chief Scott MacLachlan (although he already had another role lined up as head of football at a company called Global Football Holdings) have all but disappeared since the acquisition was completed in May. When you buy a club for £2.5 billion, it is reasonable for you to want to put your staff in the right place to manage it.
As revealed last week, The goal is to appoint a sports director before world Cup It starts in November with Chelsea ready for the January transfer window. With Graham Potter replacing Thomas Tuchel as head coach just over a week ago, he’ll also have a say on who’s coming in.
This makes a lot of sense because Potter has brought in Kyle Macaulay, the trusted recruitment analyst for the former Ostersunds and Brightonwith him to West London. The new Chelsea boss will want to ensure that those close to him can work alongside the new employee.
Since Macaulay has built a reputation for spotting emerging talent, one might once again wonder about the need for a sports director. But Macaulay is a man who works on identifying players – he is not involved in negotiations with agents or clubs, as the sporting director does. However, he still had a very important role in the new setup.
And that’s the key here. Chelsea’s new owners want to build a great team of people working together towards the same goal. The sporting director will not be the only employee who will help the club improve the way they do business. Senior and junior positions will be created and filled.
Looking at Boehly’s comments this week about Multi Club Ownership And his praise of the Red Bull group, of which Freund is a part, this is certainly an important factor in the German’s favour.
There is an acknowledgment that the data/analytics/exploration department that the Sports Director will inherit is already at a very high level but it will increase in importance and number of employees. Matt Hallam, who already had a high-level role, It has taken on more importance.
One of the attractive things about Potter is his willingness to communicate and collaborate with everyone behind the scenes and the club looks for the same quality in a sporting director.
In many ways, they want the equivalent of “Potter”: someone who was happy to work with people and who was successful in achievement; Who helped run a successful organization, even if it was an organization that didn’t fit into Chelsea’s budget. The priority is that they are strong at exploration and data, not that they are a famous name.
The board looked at people from across the Premier League and continental Europe.
There are suggestions that they changed their mind on a few occasions and someone who seemed to get the post was disqualified. There is nothing wrong with this. Rather than being a sign of indecision, it shows how determined Chelsea are to make sure the right candidate is hired.
It probably also reflects the change from Tuchel to Potter in the dugout. The indications now are that it is not an obvious choice. Someone who will create headlines.
Despite all the talk about Campos, the former football advisor to PSG, Monaco and Lille, this description of what Chelsea are looking for seems to exclude him from the controversy. Despite this, Freund began to appear like a more suitable person.
Another name that fits this profile as well, and has been considered, is Bayer LeverkusenTim Steidten.
It’s also fair to wonder just how much Chelsea’s new sporting director will say once he takes over.
Bohli and another partner of the new owners, Baghdad Ighbali, have met and have built relationships with a number of high-profile agents, as well as employees from other clubs, over the past four months. Now that they had a taste of that kind of power, would they want to give it up? It would also be understandable that the people they met during the summer window would go directly to those at the top of Chelsea, the money men, about future deals, rather than just dealing with an employee, even if he holds the title of sporting director.
But it’s worth remembering that Chelsea’s new owners have other businesses to run and worry about. This hands-on training was always a temporary thing for them. Buhli took over as interim sporting director out of necessity following the departures of Granovskaya and Cech.
See how the Los Angeles Dodgers, the major baseball team owned by Bohley and other Chelsea owner Mark Walter, are run for a guide to what Chelsea would look like.
Andrew Friedman has been Dodgers’ president of baseball operations, the equivalent of a sports director, since 2015. Dave Roberts has been a manager for nearly seven years and signed a three-year contract in March. Despite the manner of Tuchel’s sudden departure, the ambition is to have similar long-term stability at Stamford Bridge.
Buhli said a lot this week when he was speaking At a conference in the United States.
When asked why he believed the consortium could run a successful football team despite their lack of experience in the sport, he explained: “I think we know people. We know human capital. We know game plans and strategies. Yes, we don’t expect to be football experts. , to find the best talent. We’ll put those people in their shoes. I think it’s no different than running any business with human capital where it’s about getting the right resources, getting them to collaborate, getting them organized, and thinking about how to have a global business on a local level.”
This does not mean that the consortium will suddenly take a back seat and also be an absentee owner. The philosophy will be that it doesn’t matter who gets the initial phone call from an agent about a player – what happens next will be talked about and discussed among the group before a decision is made.
In some ways, it doesn’t look like the sporting director at Chelsea will have the strongest position. There will be a lot of votes involved. But the new regime clearly feels it is better to run things this way than in the past.
(Top image: Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)