Chelsea ‘held talks with Red Bull’s Head of Global Soccer Oliver Mintzlaff’ during their search for a sporting director before choosing RB Salzburg’s Christoph Freund… the talent-spotter who unearthed Haaland, Mane and Keita
- Chelsea owner Todd Boehly is leading a search for a new sporting director
- American has expressed his admiration for Red Bull’s multi-club model
- Blues are close to appointing Red Bull Salzburg sporting director Freund
- But they also reportedly held talks with the RB Leipzig chief Mintzlaff
- Both parties decided against pursuing further discussion earlier this summer
Chelsea ‘held talks with Red Bull’s Head of Global Soccer Oliver Mintzlaff’ as they search for a sporting director – but Christoph Freund is the frontrunner for the role.
The Blues’ American owner Todd Boehly expressed his admiration for the Red Bull model of a network of clubs around the globe and plans to establish something similar at Stamford Bridge.
And their pursuit of a sporting director to oversee this overhaul of the club saw them try to poach Red Bull’s main man.
Chelsea reportedly held talks with Red Bull’s Head of Global Soccer and RB Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff as they search for a new sporting director
Chelsea’s American owner Todd Boehly wants to replicate Red Bull’s multi-club model
The Athletic report that Chelsea explored the possibility of hiring Mintzlaff, who is also chief executive of Bundesliga club RB Leipzig.
A meeting took place with the 47-year-old earlier in the summer but a pause to take stock led to both parties mutually agreeing not to continue the discussions.
Mintzlaff, a former long-distance runner and head of sports marketing at Puma, joined Leipzig in 2014, helping oversee their rise to become a leading club in the Bundesliga.
In January 2015, he took up the Head of Global Soccer position, replacing Gerard Houllier, and gained knowledge of the global network of partner clubs model Chelsea wish to imitate.
However, it looks likely they will appoint Freund, the sporting director at Red Bull Salzburg, who Chelsea drew with in the Champions League last week.
Christoph Freund (left) is close to being hired as Chelsea’s sporting director by Todd Boehly
Erling Haaland was one of the outstanding talented unearthed by Freund at Salzburg
The 45-year-old was responsible for the arrival of Erling Haaland, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita at Salzburg and his talent spotting is a large part of the appeal.
Freund has made clear his desire to move to Stamford Bridge to take on the new challenge, having turned down offers to leave Salzburg in the past.
Asked about Chelsea’s interest last week, Freund said: ‘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. Chelsea is a huge club in transition. I can’t say exactly what will happen in the next few weeks and months.’