Southampton has taken a blow in their attempts to progress the club on and off the pitch both in the immediate future as well as long term after Joe Shields confirmed his departure to Chelsea.
As reported by the Evening Standard; “Standard Sport reported earlier this week that Chelsea was in advanced talks to appoint Shields as their new director of recruitment as part of a high-profile backroom hiring drive that will see the Todd Boehly-Clearlake ownership group hand over the day-to-day football operations to specialists having done much of the work themselves since taking over from Roman Abramovich, with the likes of Marina Granovskaia, Petr Cech and Bruce Buck having moved on.”
“The Blues are also in talks over appointing Christopher Vivell as their new technical director following his exit from RB Leipzig, with Norwich’s Stuart Webber, Bayer Leverkusen’s Tim Steidten, and Victor Orta of Leeds among those in the frame for the sporting director role.”
“Shields was only appointed by Southampton as their head of senior recruitment over the summer after the previous incumbent Martyn Glover left for Leicester, having spent nine years at Manchester City in a variety of positions including head of academy recruitment and talent management, where he was credited with helping to unearth a number of exciting young talents.”
Shields played a role - both indirectly and then directly - in a number of recruitment targets secured by the south coast club this summer that saw credible business achieved in acquiring four off Manchester City’s books in the vein of Gavin Bazunu, Roméo Lavia, Samuel Edozie, and Juan Larios. Additionally, moves for young German international Armel Bella-Kotchap from VfL Bochum, and Sékou Mara from Girondins de Bordeaux, signaled a clear squad-building remit looking toward the long-term through players that could command big fees in the future.
But according to Saints boss Ralph Hasenhüttl, the loss of Shields does not represent a major obstacle for the club to hurdle according to CBS Sports’ Ben Jacobs.
“He came in August and he left in October. It’s not a big loss for this club because the impact he had in the six weeks was not the biggest. We are not in the situation where we fall into depression.”
“He [Shields] was not the person who brought Romeo [Lavia] in. We would like to have people here for longer but it’s better he leaves immediately.”
With Hasenhüttl’s own situation becoming precarious at St. Mary’s after losing five of their last six in the Premier League and sitting just one point clear of the bottom three, the situation at hand on the south coast may not be his to concern himself with much longer as the Austrian headmaster may soon be out of a job should results not change for the better in the very near future.