Chelsea ‘in talks’ to land Salzburg chief who unearthed Erling Haaland

Chelsea fans react to Thomas Tuchel sacking

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Chelsea have reportedly opened talks with Red Bull Salzburg with regards to the availability of sporting director Christoph Freund, who was previously responsible for unearthing Erling Haaland after spotting him in action as a teenager for Molde. The Blues, who have endured a sub-par start to the new campaign, are said to be on the lookout for a new director to lead the club’s transfer strategy following the appointment of Graham Potter as their new manager last week.

Freud has earned a fine reputation for discovering talented players throughout his seven-year spell at Salzburg, who will face Chelsea in the Champions League group stages on Wednesday evening. The Blues have admired Freud’s work from a distance for some time and have now entered negotiations with Salzburg over the possibility of bringing him to Stamford Bridge in advance of the upcoming January transfer window, according to ESPN expert Ben Jacobs.

“My understanding on Chelsea’s new sporting director is talks with Salzburg’s sporting director Christoph Freund are already pretty advanced,” said Jacobs.

“Todd Boehly is a big fan of the Red Bull model. He’s currently ahead of Monaco’s Paul Mitchell, who really wants the job, too. Luis Campos is an option, and is technically freelance, but protection clauses in his PSG contract make a move tough unless he buys out the remainder of his Parc des Princes contract.

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“I am told at this stage Freund is very much leading the race, which adds a little spice to Wednesday’s game. Graham Potter’s input is still key and Chelsea could also hire a technical director, too.”

Chelsea have operated without a sporting director since they were taken over by Boehly earlier this year, with the American billionaire having worked with former Blues manager Thomas Tuchel to oversee the club’s transfer strategy during the summer months. Marina Granovskaia was mostly responsible for buying and selling the right players under Chelsea’s previous ownership structure before leaving the club upon the departure of Roman Abramovich towards the end of last season.

Freund, meanwhile, could be tasked with cultivating a potential network of clubs similar to the existing Red Bull system if he is poached by Chelsea over the coming weeks. Boehly has already underlined his interest in building a multi-club model during his time in west London in order to make the most of Chelsea’s esteemed youth academy by aiding the development paths of their best young players.

“I think there’s different countries where there’s advantages to having a club, Red Bull have Salzburg and Leipzig in the Champions League,” explained Boehly at the SALT Conference in New York earlier this week.

“I want to continue building out the footprint. I think there’s different countries where there’s advantages to having a club. We know people and human capital, we understand game plans and strategies.

“We’re not expecting to be the football experts to find the best talent, we are going to put those people in place. 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.”

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