Liverpool’s sporting director Julian Ward is to leave the club at the end of the season after only a year in charge.
Ward assumed duties from his predecessor Michael Edwards, who was widely credited with much of the Reds’ recent success in the transfer market, in the summer but has chosen to leave as it is understood he wishes to take a break after more than a decade at the club.
His decision was unexpected and is understood to have been greeted with disappointment within the club.
However, they are confident the continuity which saw him succeed Edwards will again provide them with some stability, underpinned by long-standing senior staff including Dave Fallows (head of recruitment) and Barry Hunter (chief scout) who continue to have central roles.
The club have begun a process to identify which model will be most effective for the future and the PA news agency understands manager Jurgen Klopp, who recently extended his contract until 2026, will play a pivotal role in the process along with chief executive Billy Hogan.
Ward’s departure comes after the recent news that Liverpool owners FSG are believed to be considering selling the club, though they would prefer to attract new investors by selling a minority stake.
Fenway Sports Group (FSG) have received « a lot of interest » in Liverpool investment, according to FSG partner Sam Kennedy.
They have asked Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to gauge buyer interest and now Kennedy, the CEO of the FSG-owned Boston Red Sox, has claimed there are plenty of suitors for investment.
He told The Boston Globe last week: « There has been a lot of interest from numerous potential partners considering investment into the club.
« It is early days in terms of exploring possibilities for possible investment into Liverpool. »
Carra: Upheaval a worry for Liverpool
Sky Sports’ Jamie Carragher:
« It’s not ideal as when you are talking about recruiting players a person in that role is heavily involved not just for the January window but in the summer too. It does feel like a shock. It is a little bit of a worry for Liverpool. There seems to be upheaval behind the scenes in terms of the ownership. Michael Edwards moved on and Ward came in to replace him and now he’s gone. It won’t be easy to get someone straight away as Liverpool won’t be prepared for this. Hopefully, someone fills the role and has as much success as they’ve had in the past. »
Why are both Liverpool and Man Utd on the market?
Sky Sports News senior reporter Melissa Reddy:
« It is in large part sparked by the £4.25bn takeover of Chelsea. Sky Sports News has been told the Glazers and Fenway Sports Group have been advised for months it is a « peak period » for the valuation of top clubs, as told by the fact the west London side commanded such a staggering figure despite a forced sale due to the sanctions on Roman Abramovich.
« It cost £2.5bn to acquire the oligarch’s shares and a binding pledge of £1.75bn of future investment in the club’s stadium, academy, and women’s team, to reach the figure of £4.25bn.
« One US-based source, who has engaged with the Glazers and FSG over financial matters, said the Chelsea sale « moved the dial » for both owners. They had been heavily reluctant to consider a sale before « seeing the scope of legitimate interest out there. »