Premier League • England

Next Liverpool sporting director: Elite source reveals exactly how Reds can re-appoint Michael Edwards; three alternatives named

Michael Edwards and Frederic Massara, Liverpool targets

Michael Edwards (left) and Frederic Massara (right) are both director targets for Liverpool

Liverpool must offer Michael Edwards something bigger than the sporting director role to get him to return to Anfield, while three other names have also come into focus for the Reds, according to trusted source David Ornstein.

With Jurgen Klopp leaving in the summer, Liverpool are facing a massive decision as they must find an elite manager who can continue the German’s great work. But before that, Liverpool must land a new sporting director to actually make the final decision on Klopp’s successor.

Jorg Schmadtke was hired as Liverpool’s sporting director last summer, but he left at the end of the recent January transfer window.

In a sensational twist, Liverpool chiefs are hoping to bring transfer mastermind Edwards back to the club.

The 44-year-old worked wonders during his first spell as Liverpool’s sporting director between November 2016 and June 2022, playing a key role in the signings of Virgil van Dijk, Mo Salah and Andy Robertson, while also selling unwanted players for big profit.

On Wednesday, it emerged that Liverpool are ready to make one final push to reunite with Edwards. But he will only consider their offer if they guarantee he gets more power this time around, as his influence had reportedly been waning in the final few years of his first tenure.

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That was because the club placed more and more faith in Klopp to run things off the pitch.

In his latest Q&A for The Athletic, Ornstein has stated that Edwards would rather return to Liverpool in a higher up role, allowing him to decide on the next sporting director and have a say in the managerial appointment, too.

Michael Edwards holding out for bigger Liverpool job

“Edwards has already turned down the chance to return and there has been nothing to suggest he has changed his mind,” the reporter said.

“If (Liverpool’s owners) Fenway Sports Group (FSG) is still trying, you would have to presume their executives think there is still a chance he could perform a U-turn. Either that or they are misguided but I think they are too intelligent for it to be the latter. However, all indications are that Edwards is focused on his Ludonautics consultancy firm, so it would take something major — and quick — to alter that.

“Liverpool need to appoint their sporting director — or at least establish a direction of travel — as soon as possible for that person to lead the managerial recruitment process (even though work is already taking place on that in the background, to help the new sporting director hit the ground running).

“Edwards has no interest in being a sporting director again. It would need to be something higher, more over-arching and stimulating (which would probably see him appoint a sporting director, for example).

“There have been reports that he would demand total control to consider a return to Liverpool. That is not my understanding. He was already offered that by FSG when it made the original approach and he rejected the opportunity — the same with Chelsea, Manchester United and others historically.

“It’s more about how enticing the project and proposition are to him for different and a variety of reasons. Or, ultimately, perhaps he is just happy with his work and life as it is.”

Ornstein went on to name three other people Liverpool may target if Edwards declines their advances once again.

Bournemouth and Nice officials liked by FSG

“In terms of alternatives, there has been a lot of speculation about Richard Hughes but that might only be plausible if Edwards returned,” he added. “My colleague Simon Hughes reported that Frederic (Ricky) Massara and Florent Ghisolfi are among the other options and no doubt there will be further options that have not yet come to light.

“Time is of the essence and this is, obviously, a crucial appointment and moment for the club and its future.”

Richard Hughes has been Bournemouth’s technical director since July 2014. He has built up a great reputation in Premier League circles and could therefore work under Edwards if the latter picks up a major Liverpool role this summer.

Massara is a 55-year-old director who has previously worked at Roma and AC Milan. He has been a free agent since leaving Milan last summer.

Ghisolfi, meanwhile, is only 39 but has earned plenty of admirers for the great work he has done at Nice, having been named their sporting director in October 2022.

It is clear that Edwards is Liverpool’s No 1 target, even if they have to adjust their hierarchy to fit him in. But if that move does not work, then Ghisolfi could well emerge as the prime contender.

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