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Liverpool 'hope to appoint new sporting director by end of March'

Liverpool 'hope to appoint new sporting director by end of March'
© Reuters
Liverpool reportedly hope to nail down a new sporting director by the end of March before intensifying their pursuit of a new head coach to replace Jurgen Klopp.

Liverpool reportedly want a new sporting director in place by the end of March before ramping up their pursuit of a new head coach.

The Reds have been without a transfer guru since the end of January, when former sporting director Jorg Schmadtke vacated his post at the close of the winter transfer window.

Schmadtke had only taken the reins in the summer and oversaw the Reds' successful midfield rebuild, helping to facilitate the arrivals of Ryan Gravenberch, Alexis Mac Allister, Wataru Endo and Dominik Szoboszlai.

However, the 59-year-old was not expected to continue in his Anfield post for long, and his departure was made official by Liverpool last month, not long after Klopp's astonishing exit announcement.

While the hierarchy are still vetting candidates to become the club's new first-team manager, hiring a new sporting director is believed to be their number one priority right now, as prospective head coaches may be more hesitant to join without a director in place.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp reacts on February 25, 2024© Reuters

According to The Athletic's David Ornstein, Liverpool and their owners Fenway Sports Group are keen to complete their profiling of sporting director candidates by the end of March, at which point they would have nailed down a leading candidate.

A handful of contenders are believed to be in the frame, including former AC Milan chief Ricky Massara, who spent four years at San Siro from 2019 to 2023 before being placed on gardening leave.

Massara previously held a handful of administrative roles with Roma before joining Milan in 2019, and the Rossoneri were crowned 2021-22 Serie A champions with the 55-year-old working as sporting director.

Ornstein adds that Nice transfer guru Florent Ghisolfi also has admirers within the Anfield walls, although the 38-year-old would be a more complicated hire than Massara given that he remains under contract with the Ligue 1 high-flyers.

A separate report has suggested that Bayer Leverkusen's Simon Rolfes is also in the frame to take over at Liverpool alongside Werkself head coach Xabi Alonso, said to be the number one pick to succeed Klopp as manager.

Liverpool owner John W Henry with his wife Linda Pizzuti in the stands before the match on August 13, 2023© Reuters

However, should Liverpool's pursuit of foreign candidates prove unfruitful, the Reds could apparently hire from within and are closely monitoring the work of Barry Hunter and David Fallows.

Hunter has spent nearly 12 years as head of scouting for Liverpool, prior to which he worked for Manchester City from 2008 to 2012, while Fallows has been the Reds' chief scout since 2014.

Liverpool's sporting director shake-up began in the summer of 2022, when the long-serving Michael Edwards stepped down from his post, and subsequent attempts to bring the 44-year-old back to Anfield have been unsuccessful.

Julian Ward - who previously served as a scout, loan player manager and technical director - replaced Edwards as the Reds' new transfer chief, but he spent just one season in his post before also resigning.

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General view inside Liverpool's Anfield Stadium before the match on January 9, 2022
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