English sporting director linked with Liverpool set to leave role this summer

As Liverpool search for a new sporting director ahead of Julian Ward’s exit, a very interesting candidate is set to become available this summer.

Ward is working through the final months of his tenure at Anfield, having tendered his resignation following the news the club could be sold.

His departure comes a year after he officially took over from the long-serving Michael Edwards, and sends Liverpool into new territory as they seek an external appointment.

The search for a successor to Ward is underway, with the current sporting director believed to be part of the process of identifying his replacement.

No names have been reported as of yet, but one possible option is Monaco sporting director Paul Mitchell, who just so happens to be available as of this summer.

That is according to L’Equipe, who report that the Manchester-born official has confirmed his intention to depart Monaco a year early.

His contract with the Ligue 1 club expires in 2024, but Mitchell will now leave after the summer transfer window – which, of course, may be an issue were he to join Liverpool, as he would then miss a crucial part of the rebuild.

If the Reds were to target the 41-year-old, however, it may be worth finding a workaround, perhaps even including Ward extending his stay for a final transfer window.

On face value, Mitchell would be a great fit for Liverpool, having forged a strong reputation as head of recruitment at MK Dons, Southampton, Tottenham and RB Leipzig before joining Monaco in 2020.

He was first promoted to the role under ex-Reds academy coach Karl Robinson at MK Dons, and brought in two players from Anfield in David Amoo and David Martin.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 28, 2015: Southampton's Sadio Mane in action against Manchester City during the Premier League match at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After joining Southampton in 2012 he played a key part in their resurgence alongside Mauricio Pochettino, including the signings of Nathaniel Clyne, Dusan Tadic, Dejan Lovren, Graziano Pelle, Toby Alderweireld and Sadio Mane.

Moving to Tottenham with Pochettino towards the end of 2014, he was responsible for the deal that brought Dele Alli from MK Dons.

Alderweireld also made the permanent switch to Tottenham under his stewardship, with Heung-min Son and Kieran Trippier among Mitchell’s other signings.

Taking over at Leipzig in 2018, he brought in the likes of Nordi Mukiele, Matheus Cunha, Ademola Lookman, Dani Olmo, Angelino, Patrik Schick and Christopher Nkunku.

Takumi Minamino Monaco October 6 2022 ©PHOTOPQR/NICE MATIN/Jean Francois Ottonello

In those roles there were indirect dealings with Liverpool over Lovren, Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Naby Keita, though he was not serving as sporting director when those transfers were conducted.

He did, however, work to bring Takumi Minamino to Monaco last summer, with Kevin Volland, Breel Embolo, Mohamed Camara and Axel Disasi among his other standout buys.

Though there is no suggestion yet of a move to Merseyside, the timing of Mitchell’s departure is certainly interesting.