Liverpool’s 2 new sporting director targets – including man who helped sign Mo Salah

As Fenway Sports Group continue their search for Liverpool’s next sporting director, two interesting candidates have emerged from Italy and France.

As far as the public are concerned, there has been no progress with FSG’s pursuit of a successor to Michael Edwards, Julian Ward and Jorg Schmadtke.

With Schmadtke vacating his short-term position at the end of January, and Jurgen Klopp and his staff to follow at the end of the season, hiring the right candidate is crucial.

The Athletic‘s Simon Hughes has divulged more on the situation, with former AC Milan director of football Frederic Massara and OGC Nice counterpart Florent Ghisolfi both “under consideration.”

Massara, who also held positions at AS Roma and beneath Walter Sabatini at Inter Milan and Jiangsu Suning, would be available to start “immediately.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - Wednesday, March 8, 2023: AC Milan's Rafael Leão celebrates after the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 2nd Leg game between Tottenham Hotspur FC and AC Milan at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The game ended in a goal-less draw, AC Milan won 1-0 on aggregate. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

During his time working with Sabatini at Roma, Massara was involved in the signings of both Alisson and Mohamed Salah.

He spent four years at Milan, being named Sporting Director of the Year by Globe Soccer in 2022, with his signings including Rafael Leao, Sandro Tonali, Fikayo Tomori, Mike Maignan, Lucas Paqueta and Theo Hernandez.

But he was sacked last summer along with Paolo Maldini, amid differences with Milan’s new owners RedBird Capital, who interestingly hold a stake in FSG.

Whether that would cloud any appointment is unclear, though Hughes mentions RedBird as being “impressed” by Ghisolfi, who is still in his role at Nice.

Nice are owned by Man United‘s new investors INEOS, who “would fight to keep him there,” though it is explained that there have been no overtures from Manchester for Ghisolfi himself.

There are fewer standout signings from Ghisolfi’s year-and-a-half so far at Nice, though he was involved in talks to retain Khephren Thuram and Jean-Clair Todibo last summer and helped hire manager Francesco Farioli.

2JP0214 Nice, France, 14th August 2022. Khephren Thuram of OGC Nice stares towards the fans following the final whistle of the Uber Eats Ligue 1 match at Allianz Riviera Stadium, Nice. Picture credit should read: Jonathan Moscrop / Sportimage

Farioli was mentioned as an outside contender for the Liverpool job in analysis from Sky Sports‘ Melissa Reddy earlier this week.

Perhaps more interesting within Hughes’ report are the names Liverpool have previously approached or ruled out.

Those include Paul Mitchell, most recently of Monaco but now unemployed, Eintracht Frankfurt’s Markus Krosche, departing Norwich sporting director Stuart Webber and, of course, Edwards himself.

Edwards was subject of a new approach from FSG president Mike Gordon soon after the news of Klopp’s resignation became public, offering a “more senior role.”

That was declined, with the man who helped mastermind Liverpool’s success under FSG comfortable in his new position at Ludonautics.