Chelsea are going back to the drawing board in their search for a new sporting director as the Red Bull group dig their heels in over Christoph Freund.
Blues owner Todd Boehly is looking to add a sporting director to his team at Stamford Bridge having himself taken on the role in an interim capacity since taking charge of the club.
Freund has emerged as Boehly’s number one choice this month and assumed a highly-visible role during his side’s 1-1 draw against Chelsea in the Champions League last Wednesday.
“You should never rule anything out in football and Chelsea are such a huge club,” said Freund after the game.
“Chelsea is such a huge club in transition. I can’t say exactly what will happen in the next few weeks and months.
“But I’m sports director at Salzburg and I really enjoy it.”
The Blues had talks with Salzburg in the summer regarding a possible transfer for striker Benjamin Sesko, with Freund admitting conversations with Chelsea had been broader than that in their scope.
“I’ve had exchanges with Chelsea from time to time,” Freund told Sky Sport Austria.
“We spoke a lot more a month or two ago because they were interested in signing Sesko.
“The new owners are interested in how we do things with young players, how we integrate them into the first team.
“But you have (those conversations) again and again with other clubs, that’s it.”
Salzburg managing director Stephan Reiter poured cold water on the seemingly imminent move on Monday.
“I can definitely rule that out, neither Chelsea nor Christoph Freund spoke to me or the club management about something like that,” Reiter said.
“Christoph recently signed a contract with us until 2026, which applies to him as well as to players, managers or coaches.”
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And Romano has confirmed that RB are desperate to keep Freund, leading Chelsea to consider other options.
He tweeted: ‘Christoph Freund reached an agreement on contract with Chelsea on Sunday. Project was also approved, all ready – but Red Bull group is really trying to keep the director. #CFC Chelsea will insist, but also re-open talks with other candidates as Freund could now stay.’
Paris Saint-Germain advisor Luis Campos has also been linked with the role but has ruled himself out.
“I have a three-year deal here at PSG, as I wanted, and I’ve joined this club because I’m convinced we can do something extraordinary,” Campos said. “I’ve the right energy to fight for PSG and do something great here.”
It looks like Boehly and Chelsea will have to spread the net wider as they continue their search.
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