Chelsea ‘focus on new midfielder in 2023’ as Romano ponders Christoph Freund ‘priorities’

Date published: Monday 19th September 2022 8:18 - Will Ford

Christoph Freund Chelsea

Fabrizio Romano believes the focus of sporting director Christoph Freund at Chelsea will be on ‘a new midfielder in 2023’.

It was revealed over the weekend that RB Salzburg administrator Freund is close to agreeing personal terms with Chelsea.

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New owner Todd Boehly – who has operated as an interim sporting director since his consortium took over the club in May – is expected to imminently announce the deal to bring Freund to west London.

Chelsea drew with RB Salzburg outfit in the Champions League on Wednesday and the 45-year-old assumed a highly-visible role at Stamford Bridge on the night.

“You should never rule anything out in football and Chelsea are such a huge club,” said Freund.

“Chelsea is such a huge club in transition. I can’t say exactly what will happen in the next few weeks and months.

“But I’m sports director at Salzburg and I really enjoy it.”

Freund added: “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 Sesko.

“The new owners are interested in how we do things with young players, how we integrate them into the first team.

“But you have (those conversations) again and again with other clubs, that’s it.”

According to Fabrizio Romano, Chelsea are close to completing the acquisition of Freund.

He wrote on Twitter: “Chelsea are now set to reach agreement on personal terms with Christoph Freund as new director.

“Talks on with Salzburg to get it signed soon.

“Freund, man behind top deals like [Erling] Haaland, [Sadio] Mane, [Naby] Keita, [Dayot] Upamecano — ideas, data, talents. He’ll work together with [Graham] Potter.”

Romano later confirmed that Salzburg ‘have been informed’ that Freund is close to reaching an agreement with Chelsea.

And the transfer expert has had his say on the “priorities” for Freund having taken on the role.

N’Golo Kante and Jorginho are set to become free agents in the summer, and although extensions are in the offing, Romano believes they will look to sign a midfielder or two either in January or the summer.

In his latest Substack newsletter, Romano writes: “In my personal opinion, they need some energy and freshness in the midfield.

“It’s important to understand what’s gonna happen with Kante and Jorginho’s contracts; I think they will focus on a new midfielder in 2023.

“Now it will take some time to understand Freund and Potter’s priorities.”

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