Chelsea publicly snubbed as Red Bull Salzburg issue defiant Christoph Freund statement

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Red Bull Salzburg director Christoph Freund has confirmed that he will not be joining Chelsea despite holding initial talks with the Blues over a potential move earlier this month. Chelsea 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 an eventual replacement before the transfer market re-opens in January.

Those in power at Stamford Bridge reportedly identified Freund as their top target for the role and wasted little time in starting talks with the 45-year-old, who was responsible for discovering the talents of Erling Haaland after spotting him in action as a teenager for Molde. However, Freund has since explained that he will be staying with Salzburg for the foreseeable future in a defiant statement that was issued by the Austrian club on Tuesday.

“As I have already confirmed in interviews, Chelsea FC was interested in me,” he said. “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.

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“We’re in the middle of a very intense phase and have important tasks to do in the Bundesliga, [Austrian] Cup and Champions League. That’s what my focus and concentration is all on.”

Salzburg managing director Stephan Reiter went on to reveal that Freund was convinced to stay with his current employers after an in-depth conversation about the possibility of a move to Chelsea, who did not submit any official enquiries regarding his availability.

“Christoph Freund has been doing excellent work for us for many years and only recently extended his contract until 2026,” added Reiter.

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“I can hereby confirm that he will remain sporting director of FC Red Bull Salzburg. Of course, he informed me about Chelsea FC’s interest in him and we exchanged ideas on a personal level and in good conversations.

“The fact is that he will remain our sporting director! We have not received any inquiries about a possible change.”

Freund was in attendance at Stamford Bridge last Wednesday to watch Salzburg hold Chelsea to a draw in their Champions League group stage encounter, with his presence setting tongues wagging over a potential move to west London in the near future. However, it seems as though Chelsea will be forced to look elsewhere in their efforts to land a new sporting director, with Freund set to remain at Salzburg in spite of their interest in his services.

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