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Friday, April 19, 2024

Liverpool highlight three Michael Edwards alternatives in new sporting director pursuit

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Football

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Liverpool are facing crunch time in their attempts to hire a new sporting director with a need to make a decision soon.

They have tried to bring back Michael Edwards, who left in 2022, but while a return is seen as unlikely, it has not been completely ruled out yet.

Edwards, who now runs a consultancy company, helped build Jurgen Klopp’s Premier League- and Champions League-winning teams during 11 years at Anfield and is still held in high regard by owners Fenway Sports Group.

Yet while Liverpool consider a final push for his return, their hesitancy could leave them in limbo at a time when they also have to hire a new manager, with the sporting director potentially crucial to choosing Jurgen Klopp’s successor.

Besides Edwards, Liverpool are aware of Richard Hughes, who announced on Tuesday that he is leaving Bournemouth, though he is seen as a likelier candidate for Newcastle, given his longstanding working relationship with Eddie Howe.

Frederic Massara, formerly of AC Milan, and Florent Ghisolfi, currently at Nice, are others to attract Liverpool’s attention.

But a move for Ghisolfi may be deemed impractical as Nice’s owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe has bought a 27.7 percent stake in Manchester United and could prove reluctant to let him join one of their rivals.

Paolo Maldini and Frederic Massara at AC Milan v Inter Milan in 2022

(Getty Images)

The departing sporting director Jorg Schmadtke, who was brought in on a short-term deal after Julian Ward’s departure to oversee two transfer windows, leaves an important vacancy to fill.

A new sporting director would be Liverpool’s fourth in under three years, while a major issue would be that three of their top players – Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold – are out of contract in 2025.

The potential risk of losing each on a free transfer impacts the urgency for the Reds to find a resolution to their long-term future in the sporting director position and the subsequent hire of a new manager or head coach.

Liverpool could move to bring back Michael Edwards as sporting director

(PA)

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