Chelsea want to talk to Tim Steidten of Bayer Leverkusen about their role as sporting director after missing out on Red Bull Salzburg’s Christoph Freund.
Chelsea were confident in bolstering their recruitment department by hiring Freund, whose appointment had been blessed by Chelsea’s new head coach, Graham Potter, but the deal backfired after the Austrian suffered a belated change of heart about leaving his post. function.
The 45-year-old has been influenced by Salzburg’s reluctance to lose him. Freund, who previously turned down an offer from Ajax, recently signed a new four-year contract and Chelsea are considering alternative targets. One option is Steidten, who settled Chelsea over Callum Hudson-Odoi’s recent loan spell to Leverkusen, and Leeds United’s Victor Orta has also been discussed.
Salzburg was aggressive in their attempt to retain Freund. In a statement confirming that their husband will remain, Salzburg director Stephan Reiter said: “Of course he informed me about Chelsea FC’s interest in him and we exchanged ideas on a personal level and in good conversations. The fact is that he remains our sporting director.”
Freund said: “Chelsea were interested in me. If a big club asks for it, it’s a circumstance that involves personal considerations. But I have come to the conclusion that I am in the best hands at RB Salzburg and that a change is not for me.”
Chelsea owners, Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital, have experienced a hectic first transfer window and are keen to make an appointment before the World Cup kicks off in November. Boehly named himself interim sporting director after Marina Granovskaia left in June and the American does not want to be in charge of transfers for a long time.
Chelsea have previously experienced frustration over their hopes of hiring former Liverpool sports director Michael Edwards, who is also linked with Manchester United.
Part of Steidten’s appeal to Chelsea is that, like Freund, he puts a lot of emphasis on data when it comes to finding players. The 43-year-old initially joined Leverkusen as a team planner in 2019.
A possible complication, however, is that he only became sporting director of the Bundesliga last summer, when Simon Rolfes was promoted to general manager of sport.
Chelsea, which may also be looking for a technical director, are considering asking Leeds for permission to speak with Orta. They faced the Spaniard during their failed attempt to sign Brazilian winger Raphinha, who eventually went to Barcelona. Orta has played a key role in Leeds’ revival and has built a reputation as a savvy recruiter.
Whoever becomes Chelsea’s sporting director will have to work with Potter’s recruiting analyst Kyle Macaulay. The club is also associated with Paul Mitchell of Monaco, Andrea Berta of Atlético Madrid and former defender Maxwell of Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.