Chelsea could be set to miss out on their first choice Sporting Director target as it has emerged that Christoph Freund is considering a stay with the Austrian club.
It was reported that a deal was done for the highly-regarded board member, but these have since been proved to be wide of the mark, with subsequent suggestions that a deal was ‘not imminent’.
However, Salzburg are not willing to let him leave without a fight, and this is thought to have had a major influence on Freund’s decision making.
And, as per the Telegraph, “sources close to the 45-year-old believe he is having second thoughts over the move, prompted by Salzburg’s hardline approach over his future and the fact he signed a new four-year contract.”
“Chelsea have not yet given up on Freund, but will press ahead with talking to other candidates for the post with doubts now surrounding whether or not he is prepared to leave Salzburg”, they add.
Freund, 45, is thought to have been forced to reconsider his position on the move as a result of the desperation of the Red Bull group club to keep him, and with good reason after his scouting history that includes Erling Haaland, Benjamin Sesko, Naby Keita and Sadio Mane.
Graham Potter’s side, meanwhile, may be forced to look elsewhere, having already seen a proposed move for former Liverpool Sporting Director Michael Edwards fall through this year.
It is unclear who they will target, and it could well be that Freund does indeed decide to commit to a move away from Austria, but for now, there is no clear candidate for the role. However, given that the transfer window does not re-open until January, there is plenty of time to address it.