Premier League • England

Michael Edwards confirms Liverpool departure as ambitious Prem rivals lurk

Michael Edwards Liverpool sporting director 2018

Liverpool sporting director Michael Edwards has confirmed his departure from the club with Newcastle reportedly waiting in the wings.

Edwards’ contract with the Reds is expiring at the end of the season. There had remained a hope that he would put pen to paper on a new deal at Anfield. But that hope has now been vanquished.

Liverpool announced the 42-year-old would be leaving and replaced by his assistant, Julian Ward, while Edwards himself wrote a lenghty open letter to the fans on the club’s official website.

It read: “Ten years, that’s a pretty long time in anyone’s working life. In football terms, it is an era in itself, particularly at a club like Liverpool where the expectations and standards are never anything other than as high as the supporters deserve.

“To be part of this club during this period has been a privilege due to the people I have been fortunate enough to work with and the success we have enjoyed.

“But all good things must come to an end and, in my case, I recently completed my final summer window as Liverpool sporting director.

“Even writing those words seems a bit surreal, but at the end of this season I will pack up my laptop and leave my office at the AXA Training Centre for the last time.

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“Before I do so, though, I wanted to take this opportunity to explain the reasons why I’m moving on because I’m a great believer that supporters deserve clarity at times like this.

“The last thing I want is unfounded speculation, particularly as I know the Liverpool Football Club that I am leaving behind couldn’t be in better hands.”

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Edwards continued: “I had always planned to cap my time at the club to a maximum of 10 years. I’ve loved working here, but I am a big believer in change. I think it’s good for the individual and, in a work setting, good for the employer, too.

“Over my time here we have changed so many things (hopefully for the better) but someone new brings a different perspective, new ideas and can hopefully build on (or change) the things that have been put in place beforehand.

“That’s how I believe businesses/football clubs stay ahead; you need to evolve and at the heart of this kind of process is always people.

“That evolution has always been central to Liverpool’s history and I hope that this is one thing that doesn’t change.”

Howe wants Edwards for Magpies

Edwards has been linked with the vacant Magpies role. According to the Northern Echo, Eddie Howe wants a reunion with the Reds director.

The pair first met at Portsmouth in the early 2000s. Howe was still in his playing days, while Edwards was a performance analyst for the south-coast side.

Since then they have remained good friends. So much so that they met at Anfield for Liverpool’s Champions League clash against Atletico Madrid last week.

The new manager isn’t very experienced with big dealings. In stark contrast, Edwards has grown a massive reputation for his on Merseyside.

He has masterminded the signings of key Liverpool trio Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mane.

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