Chelsea owner Todd Boehly closes in on new transfer chief as top target speaks out

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Red Bull Salzburg director Christoph Freund has refused to rule out the possibility of a move to Chelsea, who are said to be trying to bring him to Stamford Bridge to lead their transfer strategy under the watchful eye of Todd Boehly. The Blues have operated without a sporting director since the departure of Marina Granovskaia towards the end of last season but are currently on the lookout for her eventual replacement in advance of the upcoming January window.

Freund has earned a fine reputation for discovering talented players throughout his seven-year spell at Salzburg, who managed to hold Chelsea to a draw in the Champions League on Wednesday evening. He was in attendance at Stamford Bridge to watch the match and has since admitted that it would be difficult to turn the Blues down if he is approached by the west Londoners in the not-too-distant future.

“You should never rule anything out and Chelsea are such a huge club,” said Freund when quizzed on reports linking him with a potential move to Chelsea over the coming weeks and months.

“I’m sports director in Salzburg & I really enjoy it. Chelsea is a huge club in transition. I can’t say exactly what will happen in the next few weeks and months.”

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Freund was previously responsible for unearthing Erling Haaland after spotting him in action as a teenager for Molde and has since played a major role in helping the likes of Benjamin Sesko and Karim Adeyemi to thrive at Salzburg over the last few years. It remains to be seen whether he will eventually be snapped up by Chelsea, who are said to have identified him as their top target for the role of sporting director.

The Salzburg chief could potentially be tasked with building a network of clubs, similar to the existing Red Bull system, if he is poached by Chelsea over the coming weeks. Blues owner Boehly has already underlined his interest in overseeing a multi-club model in order to make the most of Chelsea’s esteemed youth academy by aiding the development paths of their best young players.

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“I think there’s different countries where there’s advantages to having a club, Red Bull have Salzburg and Leipzig in the Champions League,” explained Boehly at the SALT Conference in New York earlier this week.

“I want to continue building out the footprint. I think there’s different countries where there’s advantages to having a club. We know people and human capital, we understand game plans and strategies.

“We’re not expecting to be the football experts to find the best talent, we are going to put those people in place. The challenge that Chelsea has, when you have 18, 19, 20-year-old superstars, you can loan them out to clubs but you put their development in someone else’s hands.”

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