Chelsea face a fight to recruit transfer guru Michael Edwards, after he vowed to take a year-long break from football… but new Blues owner Todd Boehly is desperate to appoint the ex-Liverpool sporting director to spearhead the club’s transfer business
- Chelsea have opened talks with Michael Edwards but must clear two hurdles
- The Blues want Liverpool’s former sporting director to accept a similar role
- But Edwards wants a year to recharge after leaving Jurgen Klopp’s Reds side
Chelsea have opened talks with Michael Edwards but must clear two hurdles if they are to convince Liverpool’s former sporting director to accept a similar role at Stamford Bridge.
Todd Boehly has been on the trail of Edwards since he left Anfield at the end of last season, as he searches for the best way to fill the void left by Marina Granovskaia’s exit.
New co-owner Boehly has boldly shouldered the responsibility of leading Chelsea’s hectic summer of transfer business, with head coach Thomas Tuchel also playing an active role.
Securing Liverpool sporting director Michael Edwards (left) is a focus for Chelsea right now
New Blues owner Todd Boehly has been on his tail since he left Anfield at the end of last season
They have completed the signings of Raheem Sterling from Manchester City for £47.5million and Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli for £34m and stand on the brink of a £50m deal for Marc Cucurella from Brighton, an eye-catching swoop for a left back wanted by Manchester City.
Other ambitious targets remain active but some have gone, including Sevilla defender Jules Kounde and winger Raphinha of Leeds, who both snubbed the London club for Barcelona.
They are also hunting a right wing-back and are looking seriously at Denzel Dumfries but have baulked at Inter Milan’s £42m valuation. Southampton’s Kyle Walker-Peters is another target.
At the same time, Chelsea still have players who want to leave and a frustrated Tuchel admits his team is not ready for the Premier League season, which starts with a trip to Everton on Saturday.
Edwards forged his reputation at Liverpool as an expert negotiator and clinical closer of deals, at the head of a team blending data and eyes-in-the-stand scouting operations with the demands of manager Jurgen Klopp and the club’s financial limitations.
After their success in recent years, little wonder he figures so prominently on Boehly’s list as he tries to create a similar tier of expertise at Chelsea from the remains of a unique trading operation run by Roman Abramovich.
Edwards, however, made it clear when he quit after a decade at Anfield that he planned to take a break for up to a year to refresh and recharge before embarking on his next challenge.
Ideally, Chelsea want someone in position next month so this represents the first obstacle to overcome. The second concerns the degree of control they are prepared to grant the first sporting director of the Boehly and Clearlake Capital era.
There are questions over how his role will dovetail with that of manager Thomas Tuchel (right)
Edwards, arriving in a position of power with other clubs also keen to acquire his services, would expect the freedom to build an empire as he sees fit, but where does this leave those already in position?
Where does it leave Tuchel, the popular Champions League winning coach, if they do not have a shared vision?
There will be no shortage of alternatives if Boehly and Edwards cannot agree a deal.
The job is very attractive for those who made their names in this role, including Paul Mitchell, once of Southampton and Tottenham and now at Monaco, and Atletico Madrid’s Andrea Berta, who is thought to be looking for a change of scenery and has admirers at Chelsea.
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