Liverpool have confirmed the upcoming departure of Michael Edwards from his position as sporting director, with fans worried about the impact of his exit.
Edwards, who has been with the Reds since 2011, will move on when his contract expires in June, having been officially appointed sporting director five years ago.
It will be a blow to Liverpool, given the success of their recruitment during Edwards’ tenure, but there is optimism as Julian Ward will be promoted from his current role as assistant sporting director.
The signings of Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah, Alisson and Fabinho are a credit to the work of Liverpool’s transfer figurehead, as are big-money sales for players such as Philippe Coutinho (£140m), Mamadou Sakho (£26m) and Dominic Solanke (£19m)
Ward’s work alongside Edwards, and previously in building relationships in various roles for Liverpool, Man City and the English and Portuguese FAs, should aid him in his role as successor.
But the immediate reaction to the news has seen concern among supporters, who have taken to social media to give their thoughts:
Build Michael Edwards a statue
— Jack Gill (@jacklfcgill) November 10, 2021
It’s impossible to overstate Michael Edwards’ influence on Liverpool’s restoration as a powerhouse. Recruitment, the analysis team considered leaders in football, the world-class operations and infrastructure at the club have all been shaped by him.https://t.co/z1q3usYYFR
— Melissa Reddy (@MelissaReddy_) November 10, 2021
Will forever be remembered as a vital component that enabled LFC to end their 30 year wait for the title. Everyone will have their own opinions on the job he done but in mine overall it was brilliant. Well done Michael Edwards ?? #LFC pic.twitter.com/vU5087We4c
— Grizz Khan (@GrizzKhan) November 10, 2021
Micheal Edwards has been as important as Klopp. A wonderful partnership. Something, seemingly, other clubs can't master. It's tough. Hopefully Ward, as someone whose been under ME, can continue with. Structure and process rather than individuals…
— Sports Analysis (@AnalyseSport) November 10, 2021
Mane's contract expiring in 2023
Salah's contract expiring in 2023
Firmino's contact expiring in 2023
Let Gini leave without replacing him
Now Michael Edwards also gone
FSG's sustainable model
— Gambino ? (@Gambino_LFC) November 10, 2021
Michael Edwards leaving?
Yeah we’re totally done for with FSG now.
Nobody left to work miracles.
— ?????? (@KIopptinho) November 10, 2021
Michael Edwards leaving is a disaster. He actually has a very good transfer record, had he been backed him and Klopp could have made us invincible. But you know FSG.
— Barry LFC O Sullivan (@NotoriousLFC) November 10, 2021
Michael Edwards gone?? Bmt this is worse than when Coutinho left
— Akeem????? (@Akzyy) November 10, 2021
Michael Edwards leaving Liverpool is a big blow. But his assistant Jules Ward, who is due to take over, is carefully selected and has all the infrastructure and organisation Edwards has built – as well as being thought by Edwards. He has the enviroment and knowledge to succeed.
— Maxi (@MaaxiAngelo) November 10, 2021
Ward trying to replicate what Michael Edwards did for us as sporting director pic.twitter.com/Yq5qFI7GRj
— alex (@lfcalexx6) November 10, 2021
Let Michael Edwards go out with a bang in January I say.
— – (@AnfieldRd96) November 10, 2021
Michael Edwards has posters of Julian Ward in his office.
— Henry Jackson (@HenryJackson87) November 10, 2021
In reality, it is difficult to judge how much of a setback Edwards’ departure could be for Liverpool, with the hope being that Ward slots comfortably into the existing structure.
That fans have reacted so vocally to the career path of a sporting director – not a player, or even a manager – is a testament to both Edwards’ reputation and the currency of transfers in modern football.
Liverpool will, undoubtedly, move on without their sporting director – but it could well be a tough transition.