Chelsea have opened up talks with Michael Edwards to fill up the position of the sporting director but there are some major hurdles to be tackled.
Since Marina Granovskaia, Bruce Buck, Guy Laurence and Petr Cech have left their respective positions as the people who run the club for former owner Roman Abramovich, Chelsea are in the hunt of replacing these positions. And they managed to fill up two of the positions by announcing Tom Glick is the new chief executive officer. Glick who previously was an executive at Manchester City will take care of the business affairs at the club. Owner Todd Boehly has stepped in the position of chairman of the club and has also inherited the sporting director role and allowed head coach Thomas Tuchel to have a bigger say in the transfer affairs.
But Boehly’s role as a sporting director will need a person who has the maximum expertise in this field and Chelsea have concluded that their No.1 target for this role is none other than Michael Edwards who previously oversaw the revival of Liverpool Football Club along with Jurgen Klopp.
WHAT MAKES MICHAEL EDWARDS SO DESIRABLE FOR THIS POSITION?
Edwards joined Liverpool in 2011 as head of analytics before being promoted to director of technical performance and then technical director. In 2016, the club created the role of sporting director for the first in the club’s history and announced Michael Edwards in this position. He was tasked by Fenway Sports Group (FSG) to maximize profits while still being highly competitive on the pitch. He also oversaw the footballing development, including player identification, acquisitions, player sales and retention, as well as taking primary responsibility for improvements to the club’s infrastructure.
And he was a success in every one of his tasks. Liverpool lifted the Premier League for the first time ever in 2020 and also made Liverpool a £3.6 billion entity. New brands like Nike were attracted by Edwards who replaced New Balance while increasing the club’s commercial revenue from £29m to £217m due to eight new sponsorship deals.
On the pitch, Edwards also demonstrated his wits by bringing in the likes of Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane who were considered decent players but underwent huge changes to come second in Ballon d’Or votings. Virgil van Djik after much hustle was worth the wait transforming a leaky Liverpool backline to one of the world’s best alongside Robertson who was picked up on a cheap deal. Next came Alisson who replaced Loris Karius after his shambolic performances in the UEFA Champions League against Real Madrid.
All these were done on a tight budget and excellent player sales to aid it. Philippe Coutinho’s sale to FC Barcelona for a fee of £142m was nothing but spectacular while also selling fringe players like Solanke and Brewster for hefty profits.
He also helped Liverpool build a new training complex which had all the facilities that a modern footballing team requires which was priced at around £50m and was opened to use in late 2020.
WHAT ARE THE OBSTACLES IN THIS DEAL?
After Edwards left Liverpool, he made it clear that he wants to have a year off from all activities so that he could recharge for his new adventure. But Chelsea on the other hand wants to fill up their position next month in order to equip Tuchel with everything he needs to compete with Liverpool and Manchester City. Todd Boehly has been personally overseeing the club’s transfer activities but he can only do so much.
The second problem will be how much power are the new owners ready to give their sporting director. Edwards will now bargain from a position of strength having been so successful at Liverpool. Todd Boehly seems to be a person who wants to be very hands-on with his approach very much contradicting John W. Henry & Tom Werner who appoint people in their position and let them be. Due to this Edwards had infinite powers at Anfield and any decision could not move forward without his say so.
Edwards is a guy that does not get pushed around very easily. But having bought the club just recently Boehly and Clearlake Capital Co. will want to do more than just be the custodians of this club.
Any failure to land their preferred sporting director will mean Boehly has to look elsewhere. Other candidates discussed are Paul Mitchell, once of Southampton and Tottenham and now at Monaco & Atletico Madrid’s Andrea Berta, who is also looking for a new challenge.