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Chelsea close to securing Salzburg’s Freund as sporting director

Chelsea sporting director

Chelsea appear to have found its new sporting director, with RB Salzburg’s Christoph Freund close to taking over the role.

Evening Standard reports that Freund, who is the sporting director at Salzburg, takes his same role over to Stamford Bridge. There, he works closely with owner Todd Boehly and new manager Graham Potter for tactics and player arrivals.

Transfers are where Freund thrived during his lengthy tenure in Austria. Under Freund’s sight, Salzburg acquired, then eventually sold, players like Erling Haaland, Sadio Mané, Dayot Upamecano, Naby Keïta and Takumi Minamino. Remarkably, according to transfer specialist Fabrizio Romano, Freund profited over $500 million for Salzburg when it comes to player trades.

Now, Chelsea and Todd Boehly bring over Freund with money more available for the Austrian. Regardless, the eye for talent that Freund possesses is something that Boehly takes keen interest in. Plus, Boehly stressed the importance that new manager Graham Potter is on board with the acquisition of Freund. Chelsea’s owner ensured that the pair met, taking Potter’s opinions into account before making a final decision.

The move is not without pushback, though. Salzburg chief executive Stephan Reiter remains confident Freund will stay in Austria. Reiter spoke about how neither Chelsea nor Freund reached out to the club management.

“Christoph recently signed a contract with us until 2026, which applies to him as well as to players, managers or coaches,” Reiter said.

Chelsea acquiring a new sporting director

Right now, Boehly serves as the de facto sporting director for the Blues. The new owner took over the role in the summer. He oversaw a summer window when Chelsea spent more than any other club in Europe. Wesley Fofana, Marc Cucurella and Raheem Sterling all cost more than $50 million. Plus, the long-awaited acquisition of Kalidou Koulibaly sent $40 million to Napoli.

Not to discredit Todd Boehly, but Freund was much more tactical in his spending while at RB Salzburg. He brings a track record of success in both the transfer market and on-field performance. One of Freund’s strong suits is his ability to bond with players, evoking emotions that drive success.

In fact, Chelsea and Salzburg are rivals in this season’s UEFA Champions League group stage. The pair played to a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge in matchday two, despite Chelsea having a far more expensive side on the pitch.

Boehly can focus more on the chairman and ownership side of the club, leaving Freund and Potter to have greater say over the players and tactics at Stamford Bridge.

PHOTO: IMAGO / Sportimage

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