DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Sunday, December 11, 2022: Liverpool's Sporting Director Julian Ward (R) and General Counsel and Director of Football Administration & Governance Jonathan Bamber during the Dubai Super Cup 2022 match between Liverpool FC and Olympique Lyonnais at Al Maktoum Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Ajax and Nice want Liverpool transfer chief as contract clause explained

Liverpool sporting director Julian Ward is attracting interest from clubs in Europe, with a clause preventing him from working elsewhere explained.

After a single season in the role of sporting director Ward is set to leave Liverpool at the end of the season, after tendering his resignation in November.

His imminent exit poses a big problem for the club, coming 12 months after Michael Edwards officially left his post and alongside the departure of director of research Ian Graham.

It leaves a crucial position to fill, with Monaco sporting director Paul Mitchell among the possible candidates, and despite claims to the contrary from the Liverpool Echo, the search for Ward’s successor is underway.

The Mail‘s Dominic King has described the headhunting process as “ongoing,” though no names have been reported as of yet.

When it comes to Ward’s future, it was believed that the 41-year-old would be unable to take a job elsewhere for the next 12 months.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 9, 2022: Liverpool's Julian Ward during the FA Cup 3rd Round match between Liverpool FC and Shrewsbury Town FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

But the Telegraph‘s Mike McGrath has now explained that this does not apply to clubs outside of England – which has prompted interest from Ajax and OGC Nice.

Ajax are said to “believe they could persuade [Ward] to work from Amsterdam to be part of a rebuild,” having identified him as “he has worked in the markets they recruit players from.”

Ward has experience working with the Portuguese FA as head of analysis and technical scouting, while scouting positions with Man City and Liverpool took him to Portugal, Spain and South America.

Interest from Ajax has been previously reported, with the Dutch club viewing it as a “unique opportunity that he is available.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, May 25, 2022: Liverpool's Director of Football Michael Edwards (R), Chief Scout Barry Hunter (M) and Sporting Director Julian Ward (L) during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Champions League Final game between Liverpool FC and Real Madrid CF. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Whether Ward would take up a job in the Netherlands or France remains to be seen, with it previously suggested that he could take time off after over 10 years at Liverpool in various roles.

But the clarification over a non-compete clause in his contract does appear to confirm he could not immediately swap Anfield for a high-profile position in the Premier League.

It does, however, also shed light onto Edwards’ situation, with the long-serving former Liverpool figurehead likely available to English clubs from this summer.

Edwards has previously been linked with Chelsea and Man United, though the London club have now appointed co-sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley.