Chelsea are planning to hire Monaco technical director Laurence Stewart as part of a new transfer ‘thought tank’ to handle player recruitment.
Todd Boehly and Clearlake, the club’s new co-owners, are reorganising the club, and Stewart will be part of a panel that will decide on transfer strategy.
Chelsea are in negotiations with Brighton’s head of recruiting, Paul Winstanley, as part of the new structure.
The Blues have already hired Graham Potter’s recruiting analyst Kyle Macaulay from Brighton, while Southampton’s Joe Shields has been named director of recruitment.
Stewart, Macaulay, Shields, and Winstanley will be members of the ‘think tank,’ which is part of a drive to replace a big-name sports director with a collaborative framework.
Christopher Vivell, the former technical director of RB Leipzig, has been extensively connected with a transfer to Stamford Bridge, although the club has played down the possibility. Boehly is now temporary sports director and coordinated a world-record transfer splurge of more than £270 million in the summer alongside Clearlake Capital co-owners Behdad Eghbali and Jose Feliciano.
They aim to stay closely engaged at Chelsea, but will scale down on transfers to let the experts to perform their jobs.
Boehly has been impressed by the Red Bull football business, which owns Leipzig and Salzburg, both of whom Chelsea will meet tonight in the Champions League. The American wants to create his own multi-club network to assist the Blues provide their young players top-level exposure in Europe while also avoiding work visa complications.
Stewart, who has previously worked for Red Bull in Leipzig as well as Everton, Manchester City, and the Football Association, has signed a contract. Stewart has also worked in a multi-club environment at Monaco, which owns Cercle Brugge in Belgium.
Chelsea was pleased by Macauley’s links to agencies and his knowledge of current scouting tactics.
Shields will join after taking a gardening leave after leaving Southampton.
Chelsea’s new transfer structure is taking shape in time for the World Cup, and the club is looking to employ two more senior football executives in the coming weeks.
Boehly also wants to go on with plans to develop a satellite club network, and has made bids for French teams Lyon and Sochaux, as well as Portuguese first level club Portimonense.
Potter feels the Red Bull model can be effectively duplicated in England, speaking ahead of tonight’s game against Salzburg.
“Essentially, it’s a concept, and everyone is unified behind that notion,” he said. “You can surely recreate the intellectual notion behind whatever the name is.”