Michael Edwards’ rejection, Paul Mitchell’s unavailability and Christoph Freund U-turn- where do Chelsea and Todd Boehly turn next in their ongoing sporting director search?
Boehly and the Clearlake Capital ownership would have hoped that the process to appoint Marina Granovskaia’s successor would have been smoother than how it is turning out to be.
There was growing confidence that Freund woujld move to west London and the Austrian initially was happy to discuss a move but once the Red Bull group found out about the negotiations, they succeeded in changing his mind.
A statement at the time read: “As I have already confirmed in interviews, Chelsea FC was interested in me.
“When such a big club asks, it not only honours me and the work of FC Red Bull Salzburg, it is of course also a circumstance that entails personal considerations. But I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m in the best of hands with FC Red Bull Salzburg and that a change is out of the question for me.
“We’re in the middle of a very intense phase and have important tasks to do in the Bundesliga, Cup and Champions League – that’s what my focus and concentration are all on.”
In amidst the sporting director drama in West London, east London side West Ham have moved to bring in Mark Noble for their vacancy. With this in mind, football.london takes a look at four possible Blues icons who Boehly could turn too if he was to follow the same path as the Hammers, as also Arsenal, who appointed former player Edu to a similar role in July 2019.
The 42-year-old is already at the club to undertake a coaching consultancy role within the academy set-up, meaning his appointment would be an internal one.
If he was to be given the duties of sporting director, it would certainly be one that would go down well with the Blues fanbase, especially considering the Mr Chelsea label that he developed throughout his 22-year association with the club as a defender.
Whether or not he would want the role remains to be seen, with a coaching aspiration still seemingly in his mind following his decision to leave Aston Villa as Dean Smith’s assistant to try and earn his badges elsewhere before the potential call to step up at an EFL side, just like Frank Lampard did with Derby County.
Having left the club as a Technical and Performance Advisor during the Roman Abramovich era, it would be quite a shock to see the legendary goalkeeper return to west London so soon.
Throughout the whole takeover process, Cech was viewed as a figure who communicated to the playing staff and general workforce within the club to inform them of this ever-changing situation. There was even a point where he did an interview with Sky Sports before the Newcastle win last season to put some clarity on the takeover.
The former Guildford Phoenix ice hockey goaltender and drums enthusiast has already shown his ability to deal with the limelight in a public-facing role, so appointing him as the new sporting director wouldn’t be too outlandish of a concept to comprehend.
The former midfielder has gone into punditry work following his retirement from domestic football back in 2012. Most of his views are usually aired on ESPN.
It wouldn’t be out of the blue if the German’s name was to suddenly appear on Boehly’s list, especially as he was considered for a similar vacancy back in 2018 when Roman Abramovich wanted to find his Michael Emenalo replacement. Could it be a case of second time lucky for Chelsea’s former No. 13?
The Italian, like Ballack, has gone into punditry since leaving Chelsea following Maurizio Sarri’s departure after the UEFA Europa League final victory over Arsenal back in 2018.
Having had failed managerial spells at Watford and Birmingham City, maybe a new venture into a sporting director type of role could appeal to him if he were offered the chance.