RB Salzburg boss Christoph Freund has not closed the door on a potential move to Chelsea, confirming he has spoken to the west London club’s new owner on several occasions.
The Blues are seeking an experienced sporting director to oversee recruitment, with co-owner Todd Boehly taking on the role during the summer transfer window with mixed success.
Reports on Wednesday claimed Freund were now the frontrunner and a move could be imminent, with the German likely to watch the Austrian champions’ 1-1 draw with Chelsea in the Champions League later in the day at Stamford Bridge.
After the game, Freund – who is credited with, among other things, digging Erling Haaland – spoke to the media and revealed he had held talks with Chelsea and would be willing to join the club.
When asked about the speculation, he told Sky Sport Austria: “I have exchanged views with Chelsea from time to time. We spoke a lot more to each other a month or two ago because they were interested in signing [Benjamin] Sesko.
“The new owners are interested in how we deal with young players, how we integrate them into the first team. But you [have those conversations] always with other clubs, that’s it.’
Pressed again about a possible move to Chelsea, he replied: “Chelsea are 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 big club. But I’m sporting director at Salzburg and I really enjoy it.”
Salzburg manager Matthias Jaissle was also asked about the speculation linking Freund with the Chelsea job and insists it wasn’t a distraction ahead of the Champions League clash against the Blues.
“You know I don’t comment or comment on rumours. But it is typical. Christoph Freund is an incredible sporting director,” Jaissle told beIN Sports.
“He’s done a great job in recent years and it’s normal for the big clubs to keep an eye on him. But for us it’s not a big deal.’
Boehly is keen on hiring an experienced sporting director well ahead of the January transfer window and has recently revisited Red Bull’s name as a model to follow, with a number of Salzburg players developing in Austria before moving to Leipzig switch – such as the Sesko mentioned above.
“We talked about having a multi-club model,” Boehly said at the SALT forum in New York earlier this week.
“I think there are different countries where there are advantages to having a club. Red Bull have Salzburg and Leipzig in the Champions League. I would like to further expand the footprint. I think there are different countries where there are advantages to having a club.’
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