Chelsea news: Todd Boehly continues to grow Chelsea’s new recruitment team as questions arise on the pitch.
One of Todd Boehly’s earliest public promises as co-owner and chairman of Chelsea was to recruit a new sporting director. In the months since, a majority of the focus has leaned towards who will fill that position as Boehly gained attention jetting across Europe to secure deals.
In what has been a twist, the recruitment structure that was predicted to begin with a sporting director is likely now to end with it as the club’s new owners assemble the rest of the team.
RB Leipzig’s former technical director Christopher Vivell is in talks to fill the same role at Chelsea after he left the Bundesliga club earlier this month. Joe Shields has been snapped up from Southampton, despite the director of recruitment having only joined the Saints over the summer. The next duo on that list stem from Monaco and Brighton.
As broken by The Athletic on Sunday night, Monaco’s technical director Laurence Stewart is expected to join the new recruitment team, whilst football.london understands that Brighton’s head of recruitment Paul Winstanley will follow Graham Potter to Stamford Bridge.
The new group of four include people who not only have worked in the multi-club model that Boehly has professed a liking to. But also, from those who have impressed with fewer resources in the Premier League. That methodology is something that inspired the appointment of Potter and could see Norwich’s Stuart Webber become the eventual sporting director, too.
There are several ways to analyse these appointments, but few of them can come to any firm conclusions at such an early stage. As is the case with buying new players, transfers are never a certainty to succeed, given the change in environment and demands placed on individuals inside a different culture.
Just because someone has gained sufficient praise for their work in a smaller environment with fewer resources, that does not automatically guarantee that with greater resources they will keep succeeding.
What we can say though as the team is slowly being assembled, is that Boehly quite clearly is not falling in line with Gary Neville’s perception of him. He isn’t just abandoning all expertise, he is looking to lean on it as he has publicly expressed before. Chelsea are also not rushing to appoint the first sporting director available, they are waiting for the right person, which may mean the American spends more time in the interim role for now.
That does leave some concern over the imminent plans going into the January transfer window which may be busier than some anticipate. Chelsea look light in midfield, lack depth to cover for Reece James and are clearly pursuing an eye-catching deal for Christopher Nkunku.
There is some concern that mistakes of the past could be made in the transfer window, recruiting players for a large expense that may not necessarily be needed, or may not align with the style of football Potter is attempting to implement. These are the land mines Boehly and Co. need to navigate in the first year of ownership whilst new faces continue to arrive behind the scenes.