Chelsea in talks with ‘man who spotted Haaland’ to become new sporting director

Chelsea are in talks to appoint Red Bull Salzburg chief Christoph Freund, the man credited with bringing Erling Haaland to the club, as their new sporting director.

Blues owner Todd Boehly has made filling the vacancy his number one priority since hiring Graham Potter as Thomas Tuchel's replacement last week and an appointment is expected before the end of the month.

Initially, Chelsea had wanted to hire former Liverpool transfer guru Michael Edwards, and though he was reportedly "blown away" by the project on offer, Edwards refused to end his year-long sabbatical early, and declined.

READ MORE: Todd Boehly opens up on Thomas Tuchel's sacking and the 'shared vision' they lacked

Other names on Chelsea's shortlist include Monaco's highly-rated sporting director Paul Mitchell and PSG consultant Luis Campos, though Freund is currently winning the race.

Boehly is said to be impressed with the Red Bull model and spoke this week about building a network of feeder teams to help expand development at Stamford Bridge.

"We've talked about having a multi-club model," Boehly said at recent investors conference. "I think there's different countries where there's advantages to having a club. Red Bull have Salzburg and Leipzig in the Champions League."

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"I want to continue building out the footprint. I think there's different countries where there's advantages to having a club … the challenge that Chelsea has, when you have 18, 19, 20-year-old superstars, you can loan them out to clubs, but you put their development in someone else's hands," Boehly added.

"Our goal is to make sure we can show pathways for our young superstars to get onto the Chelsea pitch while getting them real game time. The way to do that is through another club in a really competitive league in Europe."

Freund, 45, has been in charge of Salzburg's recruitment since joining the Red Bull family in 2015 and is credited with unearthing not only Haaland, but also Dayot Upamecano, Benjamin Sesko, Amadou Haidara, Patson Daka and Brenden Aaronson.

Coincidentally, Chelsea are in action in the Champions League against Freund's Salzburg side this evening in what will be Potter's first game in charge.


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