Premier League • England

Michael Edwards given intriguing French option as Liverpool exit route

Michael Edwards arriving for a Liverpool awards ceremony

Departing Liverpool sporting director Michael Edwards is being targeted by Ligue 1 outfit Nice as part of a summer rebuild, according to reports in France.

Edwards will end a decade of service to Liverpool in the summer, when his contract expires. He has been an influential behind-the-scenes figure in their growth across recent years.

Many of the signings Edwards has made – on a relatively low net spend – have given manager Jurgen Klopp all the ingredients he needs for success.

But despite his good eye for a deal remaining, Liverpool will not be benefiting from Edwards’ services beyond this season. He will be leaving on his own terms, ready for a new challenge.

Many clubs would want to add Edwards to their staff, given the reputation he has built in recent years.

For example, reports in March suggested Paris Saint-Germain could look at him as an option to replace Leonardo, who has indeed since left his role with the French champions.

Yet Edwards could have another option in Ligue 1. According to Nice Matin, he ticks a lot of boxes for Nice.

Hopes were high for a positive 2021-22 season at the Allianz Riviera after the appointment of Christophe Galtier, who had just won Ligue 1 with Lille.

However, while Nice improved from their ninth-place finish, they could only reach the Europa Conference League position of fifth.

They did manage to finish above some big clubs like Lyon and, indeed, Lille. But there is still work for them to do to aspire to Champions League territory. It would be minor tweaks, though; they were only a few points off this season.

Nice replacing Julien Fournier

One key role change that could ensue at Nice is the replacement of sporting director Julien Fournier. He is likely to leave due to a poor relationship with Galtier.

Now, Edwards has been identified as someone who fits their criteria for a successor.

There is already an English connection at Nice, who are run by INEOS football. Key decision makers in the process involve Sir Jim Ratcliffe, his brother Bob Ratcliffe (the president of the football element of the parent company) and cycling coach Dave Brailsford.

They could now work together to lure Edwards to France.

Nice move may be appropriate challenge for Michael Edwards

Working in Europe could appease Edwards’ appetite for a new challenge. His work with Liverpool has shown he knows the continental market well.

For example, during his tenure, Liverpool signed Fabinho from Monaco in Ligue 1, Mohamed Salah and Alisson Becker from Roma in Serie A, and Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga. All are fundamental players for Klopp now.

Whether Nice are big enough compared to some of the other clubs that may want Edwards is another matter. But the British theme on their board could play a part, in theory.

It will be interesting to see how Edwards performs for a club that wouldn’t necessarily have the same stature as Liverpool. Yet that might just be the challenge he is looking for.

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