The Todd Boehly era at Chelsea is in full swing now with a new sporting director set to imminently arrive at the club.
There has been great upheaval at Stamford Bridge since the American assumed full control from Roman Abramovich earlier this year.
There was a mass clear out of some of the Russian billionaire’s long-serving, and trusted, staff.
Chief among those was Marina Granovskaia, who served as a director and took charge of transfer negotiations, developing a reputation as one of the best in the business.
Boehly assumed control as chairman and interim sporting director and now is looking to appoint someone to that role permanently.
With Graham Potter succeeding Thomas Tuchel as Blues boss, it is an opportune time to get someone in to work with the 47-year-old and build a strong working relationship from the outset.
That sporting director will almost certainly be Christoph Freund of Red Bull Salzburg.
He is thought to have impressed Blues owners Boehly and Behdad Eghbali with his shrewdness, bold ideas and passion.
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Potter was understood to have been asked for his view on Freund before owners Boehly and Eghbali pressed ahead with a deal.
Potter is said to be ready to work with Freund, with the new Chelsea coach’s backroom staff recruitment specialist Kyle Macaulay heavily involved too.
The 45-year-old did not dismiss links to the Blues, saying: “I’ve had exchanges with Chelsea from time to time.
“We spoke a lot more a month or two ago because they were interested in signing [Benjamin] Sesko.
“The new owners are interested in how we do things with young players, how we integrate them into the first team. Chelsea is a huge club in transition. I can’t say exactly what will happen in the next few weeks and months.”
Freund has developed a fearsome reputation as one of the best talent spotters around Europe, creating huge profits for Red Bull Salzburg.
Notable players he has scouted for the Austrian club include Erling Haaland, Sadio Mane, Naby Keita and Dayot Upamecano.
Freund was a defensive midfielder who never actually played outside his home country of Austria.
He joined the youth academy of Salzburg, where he spent six years, a long-time before the Red Bull money came in.
Freund also played for a number of lower tier clubs before moving into behind the scenes roles.
When Red Bull took over Salzburg, he became ‘team manager’, which meant he took on a number of organisational tasks.
He then became sporting coordinator in 2012 before succeeding Ralf Rangnick as sporting director in 2015, with the German promoted to overseeing operations at Salzburg and sister club RB Leipzig.
Freund’s track record as a talent scout and negotiator would no doubt have been a huge draw for Chelsea.
talkSPORT’s European football expert Andy Brassell gave an insight into what sort of person the Blues will be getting.
He told Trans Europe Express: “You look at the players who arrived at Salzburg and who have since moved on; Erling Haaland, Naby Keita, Dayot Upamecano, Sadio Mane, it’s some Chelsea are going to want to do.
“They’ve made a big splash in the transfer market, but going forward appointing Potter says ‘we want to develop, we want to be sustainable’.
“That to me seems important that you’ve got the idea of a coach and sporting director in.
“Ideally the sporting director will outlast the coach, in all normal functioning football clubs.
“It seems as though they will fit together quite well. That’s what you want to do, have a sporting director who fits the philosophy of what you want. The American model of maximising value.”