Chelsea plans sporting director talks with Tim Steidten – Leeds’ Victor Orta also on radar

Like Freund, 43-year-old Steidten is strong in recruiting and data, which are attractive traits for Chelsea’s owners. But just as Freund only signed a new four-year contract with Salzburg in the summer, Steidten was only appointed Sporting Director of Leverkusen for this season and it is uncertain whether or not he would be willing to make a move so soon.

It’s unclear if Chelsea will attempt to talk to Orta, but the fact that the 43-year-old’s name has been discussed is intriguing in itself. The Spaniard has been sporting director at Leeds since 2017 and was responsible for hiring Marcelo Bielsa and Jesse Marsch.

Orta has a lot of experience and previously worked as director of football at Middlesbrough, sporting director at Elche and Zenit St Petersburg and technical director at Sevilla.

Neil Bath, who has quickly built a strong working relationship with Chelsea’s new owners, would be considered for the position, but he has been head of youth development since 2011 and is believed to be happy in the job.

Co-controlling owner Todd Boehly awarded himself the title of sporting director on an interim basis this summer, but Chelsea want a tenure before the World Cup to prepare for the January transfer window.

Freund confirmed his decision to stay in Salzburg, saying: “Chelsea were interested in me. If a big club asks, it’s a circumstance that involves personal considerations. But I have come to the conclusion that at RB Salzburg I can I’m in the best hands and that a change is out of the question for me.”

In a statement, Salzburg chief executive Stephan Reiter added: “Christoph Freund has been doing an excellent job for us for many years and only recently extended his contract until 2026. I can hereby confirm that he will remain sporting director of FC Red Bull Salzburg.

“Of course he informed me about Chelsea FC’s interest in him and we exchanged thoughts on a personal level and in good conversations. The fact is that he remains our sporting director. We have not received any questions about a possible change.”

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