Ian Doyle shares insight on Anfield search for new sporting director

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Liverpool Echo journalist Ian Doyle has shared the latest insight on the sporting director situation at Anfield.

Michael Edwards left the position last year to be replaced by Julian Ward, who announced in November that he’ll be stepping down at the end of this season, quickly leaving a vacancy for the role.

The Independent reported recently that Paul Mitchell, who holds that job title at AS Monaco, is viewed as the ‘ideal’ candidate to take a similar job on Merseyside, with Jurgen Klopp set to take a prominent role in the process of appointing a successor to the incumbent.

Doyle hosted a Q&A for Liverpool Echo on Thursday when he was asked for an update on what’s happening in terms of a new sporting director at Anfield, and he seemed to contradict the aforementioned report.

He outlined: “Liverpool are continuing to assess the best fit for the sporting director role, with the process being overseen by Klopp and CEO Billy Hogan. Anfield sources have been insistent for some time that Paul Mitchell, who is leaving Monaco, is not in the running for the role.

“It’s worth pointing out, too, that Julian Ward will continue to work on recruiting players until he departs in the summer and it’s likely most of the deals done in the next transfer window will owe much to Ward’s groundwork.

“Klopp has the final say on signing players, with the targeting of them a collaborative effort by the recruitment team.”

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For a number of years during Edwards’ tenure, Liverpool were the envy of many other Premier League clubs who could only look on as a number of masterful transfers were executed.

The 43-year-old oversaw the game-changing additions of players such as Virgil van Dijk, Alisson, Mo Salah and Andy Robertson, while also pulling off shrewd acquisitions such as Fabinho, Diogo Jota and Harvey Elliott.

However, upheaval has been the order of the day ever since he left Anfield, with Ward surprisingly deciding to walk away from the sporting director role after only one year in the job.

While it’d be reassuring if the identity of his successor is confirmed sooner rather than later, the importance of the appointment can’t be understated.

Liverpool are facing into a potential crossroads this summer, with several long-serving players set to depart at the end of their contracts, and a radical overhaul of the squad – and the midfield in particular – being called for in many quarters.

The discernible possibility of missing out on Champions League football after six successive years in the competition could present a wholly different challenge for whoever replaces Ward, who’ll hopefully sign off from the job having laid the foundations for some astute purchases to be completed.

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