Premier League • England

Chelsea verging on appointment of director who masterminded Haaland coup, as Romano details why Boehly is smitten

RB Salzburg director Christoph Freund

Chelsea are close to landing a new sporting director in Christoph Freund, and Fabrizio Romano has detailed a laundry list of reasons why he’s Todd Boehly’s number one pick.

Todd Boehly and his Clearlake partners have wasted little time in reshaping Chelsea in their image. Influential figures behind the scenes such as Petr Cech, Marina Granovskaia and Bruce Buck have all either departed of their own volition or been moved on.

The changes were felt closer to the playing squad too when Thomas Tuchel was axed on September 7.

Graham Potter and five of his backroom staff were drafted in less than 36 hours later. Brighton reportedly received a hefty £22m compensation package as a result.

Boehly is seeking greater integration between all departments of the club and raised eyebrows when claiming there were a “lot of walls to break down” at Stamford Bridge.

He suggested the first team and academy weren’t seeing eye to eye, claiming the two departments weren’t even sharing data when speaking in New York last week.

A new sporting director will help to fine tune the club behind the scenes and according to Fabrizio Romano, Chelsea are on the cusp of landing their man.

The transfer specialist claimed an agreement over personal terms to bring RB Salzburg’s Christoph Freund on board is close.

Furthermore, the 45-year-old Austrian is understood to have told Salzburg of his desire to join Chelsea.

That will be greeted with smiles among the Blues’ fanbase given his reputation for spotting world class talent in the making, such as Erling Haaland and Sadio Mane.

Haaland was signed by RB Salzburg in 2017 while aged just 18. Freund was their sporting director at the time and helped them generate a return of almost two-and-a-half times the £7.2m they paid Molde 12 months prior upon selling him to Dortmund.

Speaking on his YouTube channel, Romano stated: “Chelsea are on the verge of reaching an agreement with Christoph Freund.”

How Christoph Freund impressed Boehly

He continued: “They had many options on the table, different kinds of directors. Christoph Freund did an incredible job with RB Salzburg.

“Many players discovered so he’s a top talent scout. Erling Haaland was already famous at Molde, but Salzburg trusted him.

“Benjamin Sesko – now sold to RB Leipzig during the summer and was a Chelsea target – there they had conversations.

“During the negotiations for Sesko, Todd Boehly had the chance to get in touch with Freund.

“He’s a director who’s very good with data. He loves to work behind the scenes so you’ll never see his face everywhere. But he’s a man who is very professional and is always on the pitch to monitor talent and players for the future.

“He did an excellent job also with forging relationships within the Red Bull Group in general and at Salzburg, with the managers, players and agents.

“Boehly took a few months to decide who was the best candidate and he’s decided to go for Freund.”

In regards to how close Chelsea actually are to landing their man, Romano stated: “Chelsea are working on it, they’re really close to reaching an agreement on personal terms.”

Romano went on to suggest the capture could be completed “within the next few days” before adding Salzburg have been informed by Freund he wishes to take up Chelsea’s offer.