Chelsea want to hold talks with Bayer Leverkusen’s Tim Stedten over his role as sporting director after missing Red Bull Salzburg’s Christoph Freund.
Chelsea was confident To strengthen the recruitment division by hiring Freund, whose appointment has been blessed by new Chelsea boss, Graham Potter, but the deal fell apart after the Austrian’s position changed late due to leaving his post.
The 45-year-old was affected by Salzburg’s reluctance to lose. Freund, who previously turned down an offer from Ajax, recently signed a new four-year contract and Chelsea are considering alternative targets. One option is Stedten, who dealt with Chelsea at the expense of Callum Hudson-Odoi’s recent move to Leverkusen, and Leeds United’s Victor Orta has also been talked about.
Salzburg was aggressive in its quest to keep Freund. In a statement confirming Freund’s stay, Salzburg CEO Stefan Reiter said: “Of course he informed me about Chelsea FC took an interest in him and we exchanged ideas on a personal level and in good conversations. The truth is that he will still be our sporting director.”
Freund said: “Chelsea was interested in me. When a big club asks, it is a circumstance that entails personal considerations. But I have come to the conclusion that I am in good hands with RB Salzburg and that a change is out of the question for me.”
Chelsea’s owners, Todd Boyle and Clearlake Capital, have had a frantic initial transfer window and are eager to set a date before the World Cup kicks off in November. Bohli’s own eye As interim sporting director after leaving Marina Granovskaya in June, the American does not want to be in charge of long-term transfers.
Chelsea have previously been frustrated with their hopes of signing former Liverpool sporting director Michael Edwards, who has also been linked with Manchester United.
Part of Steidten’s appeal to Chelsea is that, like Freund, he places a heavy emphasis on data when it comes to finding players. The 43-year-old first joined Leverkusen as team planner in 2019. But a potential complication is that he only became the Bundesliga club’s sporting director last summer, ascending when Simon Rolfes was promoted to managing director of sport.
Chelsea, who may also look to appoint a manager, is considering whether to ask Leeds for permission to speak to Orta. They dealt with the Spaniard during their failed bid to sign Brazilian winger Rafinha, who ended up joining Barcelona. Orta played a major role in Leeds’ re-emergence, and he developed a reputation as a shrewd recruit.
Whoever becomes Chelsea’s sporting director will need to work with Potter’s recruitment analyst, Kyle Macaulay. The club has also been linked with Paul Mitchell of Monaco, Andrea Berta of Atletico Madrid and former Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain defender Maxwell.