2KDTK8G Stuttgart, Germany. 08th Nov, 2022. Soccer: Bundesliga, VfB Stuttgart - Hertha BSC, Matchday 14, Mercedes-Benz Arena. Stuttgart's sports director Sven Mislintat stands in the stadium before the match. Credit: Tom Weller/dpa - IMPORTANT NOTE: In accordance with the requirements of the DFL Deutsche FuBball Liga and the DFB Deutscher FuBball-Bund, it is prohibited to use or have used photographs taken in the stadium and/or of the match in the form of sequence pictures and/or video-like photo series./dpa/Alamy Live News

Ex-Dortmund chief scout emerges as Liverpool sporting director candidate

With Julian Ward set to leave his role as Liverpool sporting director at the end of the season, the first name to be credibly linked as a possible replacement is an old friend of Jurgen Klopp.

News of Ward’s decision to leave the club at the end of the season came as a total surprise, with director of research Ian Graham also said to have resigned.

Both are seeing out their notice periods until the end of the season, giving Liverpool time to seek out replacements, and it will be particularly interesting to see who the club target to replace Ward.

Sky Germany’s Florian Plettenberg, who has close links to Jurgen Klopp‘s agent, is reporting that former Borussia Dortmund chief scout Sven Mislintat is a candidate, and would be “open” to reuniting with Klopp at Anfield.

The pair worked together at Dortmund between 2008 and 2015, with Plettenberg adding that their relationship is still “brilliant.”

Earlier on Wednesday, it was announced that Mislintat, 50, was leaving his role as Stuttgart’s sporting director after three-and-a-half years, having failed to agree a new contract.

“In our talks we didn’t find a common denominator for continuing my work at VfB,” Mislintat said in an official statement.

“I very much regret that because VfB has become a matter close to my heart in recent years and I would have liked to have continued to contribute to the positive development of this great club.

“I will never forget the time in Stuttgart, emotional highlights like promotion or the last-minute win on the last day of last season will stay with me forever.

“I would like to thank everyone who has accompanied and supported me on my way and I wish the team and the great fans all the best.”

01.11.2011, Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund, GER, UEFA Champions League, Vorrunde, Borussia Dortmund (GER) vs Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE), im Bild Juergen Klopp (Trainer Dortmund) und Mats Hummels (#15 Dortmund) nach dem Spiel // during Borussia Dortmund (GER) vs Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) at Signal Iduna Park, Dortmund, GER, 2011-11-01. EXPA Pictures © 2011, PhotoCredit: EXPA/ nph/ Kurth ****** out of GER / CRO / BEL ******

In November 2017, Mislintat left Borussia Dortmund to become head of recruitment at Arsenal, where his signings included the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Bernd Leno and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

He left the club in February 2019, with reports at the time suggesting he was involved in a series of disagreements regarding the Gunners’ organisational structure and transfer strategy.

Mislintat has been sporting director as Stuttgart since April 2019, tasked with rebuilding a team that were relegated to the second division at the end of the 2018-19 season.

It’s been reported that Mislintat gave Klopp a glowing reference of Ozan Kabak when Liverpool signed him on loan in January 2021, while the Reds’ boss recommended Nat Phillips to Mislintat before Stuttgart signed him on a temporary basis in 2019.

While there’s every chance Klopp would consider Mislintat as a potential candidate to replace Ward, for now, this very much looks like a speculative link rather than anything concrete, with Plettenberg himself adding that there are no negotiations as things stand.

A link to watch, but nothing more than that at this stage.