EXCLUSIVE: Manchester United and Chelsea BOTH want ex-Liverpool transfer guru Michael Edwards – who brought Van Dijk, Salah and Mane to Anfield – as Premier League giants battle to land him
- United and Chelsea are interested in ex-Liverpool transfer guru Michael Edwards
- Premier League giants are looking to strengthen their recruitment operations
- Edwards helped turn Liverpool into Premier League and European champions
- He played a key role in bringing the likes of Alisson, Virgil Van Dijk, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Andy Robertson, Thiago and Fabinho to Anfield
- And now United and Chelsea want to appoint him as their next sporting director
United are in the midst of revamping their recruitment set-up, work which is being led by football director John Murtough.
And multiple sources claim that Edwards is of interest to the new-look Old Trafford regime as they continue to overhaul their transfer team.
Manchester United and Chelsea are interested in Liverpool's former transfer guru Michael Edwards (left) – who's pictured alongside Jurgen Klopp and FSG president Mike Gordon (right)
Chelsea owner Todd Boehly (left picture, right) is understood to have explored the possibility of appointing Edwards to a senior recruitment position while the Glazer family (right) want to bring the ex-Liverpool man to United as they continue to overhaul their transfer team
Whether Edwards is open to joining United given his ties to arch-rivals Liverpool remains to be seen.
But it is not difficult to comprehend why United are attracted to Edwards given the huge success he had at Anfield.
He joined Liverpool in 2011 as head of analytics before a number of promotions eventually saw him take up the role as sporting director.
Edwards became a pivotal figure in transforming the club into Premier League and European champions thanks to his signings; Alisson, Virgil Van Dijk, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Andy Robertson, Thiago and Fabinho are among the many players he played a key role in bringing to Anfield.
Equally impressive were some of the fees he secured from player sales, including £146m for Philippe Coutinho.
Edwards helped transform Liverpool into Premier League and European champions
Edwards helped bring the likes of Mo Salah (left) and Andy Robertson (right) to Anfield
Where Edwards, given his expertise, experience and likely high salary, would be positioned within the United recruitment structure poses an intriguing situation given Murtough’s role as department head.
For now, United are focused on strengthen their squad ahead of next season, with Murtough leading that process - the likes of Frenkie de Jong and Pau Torres among the players on the club’s radar.
But while an addition to the club’s recruitment team is not thought to be imminent, there is an acknowledgement behind the scenes that United are constantly surveying the footballing landscape in search of improvements.
United have carried out a number of changes to their off field operation since last year including the appointment of Richard Arnold as CEO, replacing Ed Woodward as their most senior executive.
Fabinho (left), Virgil Van Dijk (centre right), and Sadio Mane (right) are among the many players he played a key role in bringing to Anfield
Edwards also secured big money from player sales, including £146m for Philippe Coutinho
More recently Andy O’Boyle was named United’s deputy football director, providing support to Murtough – himself handed that new role last March – to drive ‘the club’s football strategy across the first team, academy and women’s team.’
In addition to Edwards, it is understood Brentford’s director of recruitment Lee Dykes and Middlesbrough’s head of football Kieron Scott also have admirers at Old Trafford.
However, United are not the only top-flight club interested in Edwards after Chelsea approached Liverpool’s former chief about becoming their next sporting director.
It is understood that Chelsea’s new owners, Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital, have explored the possibility of appointing Edwards to a senior recruitment position after confirming the departure of long-serving director Marina Granovskaia, who controlled the club’s transfer negotiations.
Likewise, Sportsmail has learned that Edwards attracted interest from Ajax earlier this year following the departure of Marc Overmars.
Chelsea have approached Edwards about becoming their next sporting director
However, Edwards is understood to be hesitant about making such a swift return to football after leaving Liverpool this summer, initially with a view to taking a break from the game.
It remains to be seen whether Chelsea revive their interest given Edwards’ original apprehension.
In addition to Edwards, Chelsea have also been linked with Atletico Madrid’s sporting director Andrea Berta, while former Barcelona technical secretary Ramon Planes, Monaco transfer chief Paul Mitchell and ex-Tottenham performance director Steve Hitchen may also emerge as early candidates.
The prospect of Michael Emenalo, who left his role as Chelsea’s technical director in 2017, returning to Stamford Bridge also shouldn’t be discounted.
Edwards (right) is understood to be hesitant about making such a swift return to football
For the time being, new co-owner Todd Boehly will take on the role as interim sporting director as the club consider their options.
Sources close to the club have indicated the hands-on US tycoon has thrown himself into the role, so much so that the club are in no major rush to appoint a full-time sporting director.
Granovskaia is the latest high-profile Chelsea departure following their £4.25bn Boehly-Clearlake Capital takeover though will remain available to the club for the remainder of the summer transfer window.
Boehly was also named new Chelsea chairman.