Premier League • England

Christoph Freund: Chelsea sporting director target says move ‘out of the question’ as key Plan B emerges

Christoph Freund, Mateo Kovacic, September 2022

Christoph Freund has said he is in the “best” place at RB Salzburg and so has no real reason to become the Chelsea sporting director.

The Austrian club’s transfer chief has built up a reputation for his work in the Red Bull football stable. Indeed, Salzburg and RB Leipzig have built up a reputation for developing some of Europe’s top talents.

As a result of his work, Chelsea approached Freund over taking up a sporting director role at Stamford Bridge.

Recently-appointed Blues owner Todd Boehly took the job on himself in the summer transfer window. Ahead of the January window, though, he wanted a permanent hire in that role.

Still, American businessman Boehly and his fellow Chelsea chiefs were not able to convince Freund.

“Yes, it’s true that Chelsea wanted me and we had talks,” the 45-year-old told the Daily Mail.

“When such a big club asks it not only honours me and the work of Salzburg, it is of course a circumstance that entails personal considerations.”

Freund, who recently signed a new Salzburg contract until 2026, insisted that the Austrian club is the perfect fit.

“But I’ve come to the conclusion I’m in the best hands with Salzburg and that a change is out of the question for me,” the club chief said.

“I was thinking about the Chelsea director job as I have been proud of the interest shown by such a top club.”

Freund’s comments come after Salzburg’s managing director Stephan Reiter and head coach Matthias Jaissle ruled out their colleague leaving for Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea plan B after Freund emerges

As for who Chelsea could now go after, the Blues previously had eyes on Paris Saint-Germain’s Luis Campos.

The Daily Mail adds, though, that Paul Mitchell is of interest to the Premier League club.

The former Tottenham chief, who is currently at Monaco, was largely responsible for a host of top Spurs signings.

Indeed, alongside Mauricio Pochettino, Mitchell helped sign Dele Alli and Toby Alderweireld – among others.

From there, the 41-year-old also worked in the Red Bull football stable before moving to Monaco.

Manchester United have reportedly had interest in Mitchell in the past. However, he remains at the French Ligue 1 club as a board member.

He also works as a strategic advisor at Belgian club Cercle Brugge.

Blues need sporting director in

Whoever Chelsea decide to go after, they need to take the pressure off Boehly.

As Gary Neville pointed out in the summer, his name is being mentioned too much and he needs to focus on running Chelsea’s day-to-day operations as the owner.

At Liverpool, sporting director Julian Ward and his predecessor Michael Edwards were rarely in the spotlight.

At Manchester City, meanwhile, Txiki Begiristain comments on new signings but does not get too involved too much elsewhere.

Boehly was at the front and centre of Chelsea’s transfer business in the summer. However, they now need to streamline the process, like their Premier League rivals have.

Chelsea are facing a couple of key transfer windows. Recently-appointed manager Graham Potter is looking to mould his team in his vision.

The Blues need a director in place who can help guide the new manager on the transfer front without making too much noise.