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‘I’m in the best hands with Salzburg’ Christoph Freund turns down sporting director role at Chelsea

‘It is true that Chelsea wanted me… but I have come to the conclusion that I am in the best hands at Salzburg’: Christoph Freund confirms that he has turned down the chance to become sporting director at Stamford Bridge… big blow to owner Todd Boehly

  • Freund, 45, said he is happy to remain in Austria’s current role at RB Salzburg
  • Chelsea had identified Freund as the ideal name to partner with Graham Potter
  • Todd Boehly will look for alternative names, including Paul Mitchell of Monaco
  • Freund’s decision not to join the club is a huge blow to the club

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Chelsea have been dealt another blow in their search for a sporting director after No. 1 candidate Christoph Freund chose to stay with Red Bull Salzburg.

The Blues were hopeful after talks with the 45-year-old Austrian, who helped recruit stars such as Sadio Mane and Erling Haaland to Salzburg.

But Freund has confirmed he will stay with the Austrian champions, who held Chelsea to a draw in the Champions League last week.

Christoph Freund has turned down the role of sporting director at Chelsea to stay at Salzburg

Christoph Freund has turned down the role of sporting director at Chelsea to stay at Salzburg

The Blues are now turning their attention to other names, with Bayer Leverkusen’s Tim Steidten on the list.

Another Chelsea target, former Liverpool sporting director Michael Edwards, has already said he will take a break from the game after leaving Anfield at the end of last season.

Chelsea are hoping to appoint their new sporting director, with the help of new manager Graham Potter, ahead of the World Cup. They could also add a technical director.

“Yes, it is true that Chelsea wanted me and we talked,” Freund confirmed.

“When such a big club asks, it not only honors me and Salzburg’s work, it is of course a circumstance that involves personal considerations.

“But I have come to the conclusion that I am in the best hands at Salzburg and that a change is not an option for me.

“I thought of the Chelsea director’s job because I’m proud of the interest of such a top club.”

Red Bull chief Stephan Reiter, who claimed on Monday that he had not received an official approach, added: “Of course Freund informed me about Chelsea and we exchanged ideas personally and had good conversations, but the fact is that he is our sporting director.”

Freund was considered a good fit to work with new Chelsea boss Graham Potter

Freund was considered a good fit to work with new Chelsea boss Graham Potter

Freund was considered a good fit to work with new Chelsea boss Graham Potter

The 45-year-old remains in Austria alongside Red Bull chief Stephan Reiter (right)

The 45-year-old remains in Austria alongside Red Bull chief Stephan Reiter (right)

The 45-year-old remains in Austria alongside Red Bull chief Stephan Reiter (right)

Freund was considered a suitable candidate for Chelsea by the Blues chiefs, who were impressed by his acumen, bold ideas and passion.

They felt that having attracted attention at Salzburg, Freund would have fitted well with the new coaching staff led by recently appointed manager Graham Potter.

Freund had received approval from Chelsea boss Graham Potter and his recruiting specialist Kyle Macauley.

Chelsea have not given up completely, but they are looking at other options as well. Paul Mitchell, of Monaco, is also considered interesting.

Owner Todd Boehly is currently doing the job himself on a temporary basis, but the club is now in talks with alternative candidates for a sporting director.

Chelsea owner Todd Boehly (right) now has to look at alternative names for sporting director

Chelsea owner Todd Boehly (right) now has to look at alternative names for sporting director

Chelsea owner Todd Boehly (right) now has to look at alternative names for sporting director