After news emerged on Thursday that Julian Ward was stepping down as Liverpool sporting director, it’s been revealed that Jurgen Klopp is playing an increasingly more “hands-on” part of player recruitment at the club.
Having only taken over from Michael Edwards in the summer, Ward’s resignation comes as a big surprise, during an increasingly uncertain period of time for Liverpool.
Owners Fenway Sports Group are inviting offers for the club, with Mike Gordon stepping back from his role to focus on a potential sale.
The Times‘ Paul Joyce has provided more details of Ward’s impending exit, claiming he has told FSG that he is leaving in order to “take a break from football,” with club officials confident he is not leaving to take up a similar role elsewhere.
It’s also reported that Klopp “has been increasingly central” in the club’s transfer policy throughout the last 12 months.
According to Joyce, it was the Liverpool boss and his staff members who pushed to sign Luis Diaz from Porto to prevent him joining Tottenham midway through last season, while it’s also claimed Klopp “fell in love” with Darwin Nunez when the Reds played Benfica in the Champions League.
The major upheaval in Liverpool’s recruitment team seems untimely when you consider that Klopp is in the process of reinforcing much of his playing squad, with next year’s transfer windows likely to be pivotal.
And Joyce reports that the German is playing an integral role in the rebuild of his team, while FSG do not believe that Edwards’ exit will affect their upcoming transfer plans.
He also adds that Liverpool “will now evaluate what is the best model to support football operations moving forward.”
Jude Bellingham is the name on everyone’s lips when it comes to Liverpool’s potential transfer targets, and Joyce alludes to the Reds’ interest in the England midfielder by adding that a top four finish will be pivotal if they are to stand a chance of signing him.
Elsewhere, GOAL‘s Neil Jones has reported that there is a belief within the club that FSG’s “spend what you earn” ownership model “is reaching the end of its shelf life.”