Chelsea facing Christoph Freund dilemma as Salzburg release statement

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Chelsea’s hopes of landing Christoph Freund to oversee their recruitment aims have been firmly dismissed by Red Bull Salzburg, who are adamant that he will remain on their books for the foreseeable future. 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 an eventual replacement before the transfer market re-opens in January.

Freund has earned a fine reputation for discovering talented players throughout his seven-year spell at Salzburg and is said to have reached a verbal agreement with Chelsea to join their ranks in advance of the upcoming mid-season window. However, Salzburg have wasted no time in pouring cold water on the speculation regarding Freund’s future by insisting that he is fully expected to stay at the Red Bull Arena.

“FC Red Bull Salzburg has never been contacted from Chelsea to talk about any transfer details of Christoph Freund,” said the Austrian club in a statement, as reported by CBS Sports. “We expect him to stay.”

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. He 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.

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The 48-year-old recently hinted at an interest in joining Chelsea by suggesting that it would be difficult to turn down an approach from the Blues, telling reporters: “You should never rule anything out and Chelsea are such a huge club.

“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.”

It seems likely that Freund may be tasked with building a network of clubs, similar to the existing Red Bull system, upon his arrival at Chelsea if he is successfully poached by the west Londoners over the coming days. Blues owner Todd Boehly has already underlined his interest in overseeing a multi-club model during his time at Stamford Bridge, with the American billionaire eager to make the most of Chelsea’s esteemed youth academy by aiding the development paths of their best young players.

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

“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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