Julian Ward stepping down as Liverpool sporting director just months into new role

    Julian Ward is stepping down from his role as sporting director at the end of the season, just months after taking over from Michael Edwards.

    The shock news is the latest development during an uncertain time for Liverpool, with owners Fenway Sports Group recently putting the club up for sale.

    Ward took over from previous sporting director Edwards ahead of the summer transfer window, having been gradually eased into the role prior to his predecessor’s departure.

    It was expected that Ward would be the ideal fit to continue the impressive work Edwards had done, transforming Liverpool’s recruitment team into one of the most impressive in the game.

    However, on Thursday afternoon, news broke that Ward will be leaving his role at the end of the season.

    It remains to be seen how this news will impact Liverpool’s transfer business next year, with less than two months until the January transfer window opens.

    LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 16, 2022: Liverpool's Sporting Director Julian Ward during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

    LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 16, 2022: Liverpool's Sporting Director Julian Ward during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

    The major upheaval in Liverpool’s recruitment team seems untimely when you consider that Jurgen Klopp is in the process of reinforcing much of his playing squad, with next year’s transfer windows likely to be pivotal.

    With Edwards and Ward stepping down within the last 12 months, and the club seemingly “for sale” amid FSG’s search for new investment, it is an increasingly uncertain period of time for Liverpool.

    While FSG insist they are in no rush to find new buyers, more changes are clearly on the horizon, with Mike Gordon believed to be stepping back from his role to focus on the sale of the club, and Billy Hogan taking on more responsibility.

    GOAL‘s Neil Jones has also reported that director of research Ian Graham could be next to depart.

    Liverpool are also still yet to replace club doctor Jim Moxon, whose August departure is believed to have taken many staff members by surprise.

    Klopp and his coaching staff extended their contracts until 2026 earlier this year, but there is an increasing amount of upheaval from those in roles around them.

    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)

    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)

    Ward’s job title officially changed at the beginning of July, but he had been quietly increasing his duties over the last year-and-a-half.

    Under the guidance of Edwards, who had been preparing for his departure, the 41-year-old was entrusted to take the lead on various high-profile deals.

    He was involved in a chaotic end to the winter transfer window in 2021 and then central to the arrivals of Ibrahima Konate and Luis Diaz over the following year.

    In the summer window, he helped secure the signings of Fabio Carvalho, Darwin Nunez, Calvin Ramsay and the loan arrival of Arthur Melo, while also resolving the long-term future of Mohamed Salah, by tying him down to a new three-year deal.

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