Unlikely Move: Liverpool’s Interest in Rival Sporting Director
Liverpool Football Club is currently on the lookout for their next sporting director, but it seems that their interest in a potential candidate from a Premier League rival may not materialize. The departure of Jorg Schmadtke at the end of January has left a vacancy that needs to be filled with a long-term appointment at Anfield.
Schmadtke was brought in as a short-term fix following the surprise exits of Michael Edwards and Julian Ward. His contribution to the club has been invaluable during this transitional period. However, with Jurgen Klopp and his coaching staff set to depart at the end of the season, finding the right candidate to oversee a major restructure is crucial for Liverpool.
According to journalist Ben Jacobs, there is some interest in Newcastle’s sporting director, Dan Ashworth, from the higher-ups at Liverpool. Ashworth has an impressive resume, having held important positions at West Brom, the FA, and Brighton before joining Newcastle. He is widely regarded as one of the best in his field within English football.
Jacobs suggests that a move for Ashworth is not entirely out of the question, as Liverpool looks to find their next Michael Edwards. However, it seems highly unlikely due to a clause in Ashworth’s contract at St James’ Park. Matt Hughes of The Mail reported in December that Ashworth would have to serve a 12-month notice period if he were to leave Newcastle for another club. This means that Liverpool would need to negotiate a compensation fee to break that notice period early, as was the case when Newcastle acquired him from Brighton in 2022.
Ashworth has been through similar situations before. When he joined Newcastle in February of that year, he didn’t start working until June because Brighton kept him on gardening leave. This practice is common for high-level positions like sporting directors to avoid any conflict of interest.
Liverpool would likely have to pay a significantly higher fee than the £5 million they paid for Ashworth in 2022 to secure his services now. It seems that most clubs are hesitant to commit large sums of money for sporting directors, despite their growing importance in the game. This financial aspect makes a move for Ashworth highly unlikely.
It remains unclear whether Liverpool’s interest in West Ham’s technical director, Tim Steidten, would be affected by this situation as he holds a different role. However, when it comes to Ashworth, it seems that a potential move for the man who has been involved in deals for players like Moises Caicedo and Kauro Mitoma at Brighton may be out of the question for Liverpool.