RB Salzburg chief Christoph Freund has not closed the door to a potential move to Chelsea and confirmed that he has spoken to the west London club’s new ownership several times.
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The Blues are looking to bring in an experienced sporting director to oversee recruitment, with co-owner Todd Boehly having performed the role with mixed success on an interim basis during the summer transfer window.
Reports on Wednesday claimed Freund was now the frontrunner and a move could be imminent, with the German at Stamford Bridge later that same day to watch the Austrian champions draw 1-1 with Chelsea in the Champions League.
Following the match, Freund – who is credited with unearthing Erling Haaland, among others – spoke to the media and revealed he has held talks with Chelsea and would be open to joining the club.
Asked about the speculation, he told Sky Sport Austria: ‘I’ve had exchanges with Chelsea from time to time. We spoke a lot more a month or two ago because they were interested in signing [Benjamin] Sesko.
‘The new owners are interested in how we do things with young players, how we integrate them into the first team. But you [have those conversations] again and again with other clubs, that’s it.’
Pressed again on a possible move to Chelsea, he responded: ‘Chelsea is a huge club in transition. I can’t say exactly what will happen in the next few weeks and months.
‘You should never rule anything out in football and Chelsea are such a huge club. But I’m sports director at Salzburg and I really enjoy it.’
Salzburg boss Matthias Jaissle was also asked the speculation linking Freund with the Chelsea job and insists it was not a distraction ahead of their Champions League clash with the Blues.
‘You know I don’t comment or make comments on rumours. It’s typical though. Christoph Freund is an unbelievable sports director,’ Jaissle told beIN Sports.
‘He’s been doing a great job for the last years and that’s normal that the big clubs also have an eye on him. But for us it’s not a big thing.’
Boehly is keen to bring in an experienced sporting director well in advance of the January transfer window and recently name-checked Red Bull’s operation as a model he wanted to follow, with a number of Salzburg players developing in Austria before moving to Leipzig – such as the aforementioned Sesko.
‘We’ve talked about having a multi-club model,’ Boehly said at the SALT forum in New York earlier this week.
‘I think there’s different countries where there’s advantages to having a club. Red Bull have Salzburg and Leipzig in the Champions League. I want to continue building out the footprint. I think there’s different countries where there’s advantages to having a club.’
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