Premier League • England

Todd Boehly in talks with executive who signed Erling Haaland as he refines Chelsea model

Christoph Freund February 2022

RB Salzburg executive Christoph Freund is on the wanted list of Chelsea chief Todd Boehly, according to reports.

The American part-owner is still hunting for a new sporting director and talks have taken place. Chelsea travel to Austria on Wednesday evening and Boehly will get the perfect opportunity to advance the negotiations with Freund, 45.

Boehly has overseen the summer rebuilding at Stamford Bridge, but the American wants an experienced man in before the big planning for the January transfer window gets underway.

The club’s new owners have big plans as they look to revolutionise the loan system the club has employed over the last decade.

Freund is not the only candidate to replace Marina Granovskaia, who left in the summer shortly after Roman Abramovich.

CBS Sports and the Evening Standard report that discussions between the club and Freund have been ongoing. Fabrizio Romano claims the Salzburg honcho is one of the “main names” on the list.

Freund signed Haaland

Freund has headed up Salzburg’s recruitment since 2015 and signed Erling Haaland from Molde in 2019.

Boehly is also in contact with other candidates. Paul Mitchell and Monaco and former Liverpool chief Michael Edwards has been linked. Edwards though is understood to have declined the offer.

One other name in the frame though is Paris Saint-Germain’s Luis Campos. And according to the latest from Le Parisien, Boehly has gone as far as tempting the Portuguese executive with a huge salary.

The American has offered the 58-year-old an €8m (£6.9m) yearly salary.

Chelsea initially want Campos, who also advises for Celta Vigo, in for the next two transfer windows to see how he fares.

An appointment is expected in the next few weeks and Freund may just have the edge given Boehly’s plans.

The Chelsea chief wants to develop a potential network of clubs, similar to the Red Bull model. And Freund obviously has a big advantage having worked in the environment at Salzburg.

Boehly’s Chelsea vision

Speaking at the SALT Conference in New York, Boehly said: “We’ve talked about having a multi-club model.

“I think there’s different countries where there’s advantages to having a club. Red Bull have Salzburg and Leipzig in the Champions League. 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.

“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 is well known for putting youth at the forefront of his thinking. And his working background seems to fit well with Boehly’s vision for Chelsea.

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