Raphael Honigstein has offered Liverpool fans an early insight into what they can expect from Jorg Schmadtke at Anfield.
The 59-year-old was announced as the Reds’ new sporting director on Tuesday morning (LFC official website) and will formally take over from Julian Ward from Thursday. although it wasn’t specified how long he’ll be at the club.
He comes to Merseyside off the back of plentiful experience in similar roles in his native Germany, having also worked at Alemannia Aachen, Hannover 96, Koln and most recently Wolfsburg.
As per The Athletic, Honigstein has outlined that there could be an adaptation process for Schmadtke at Liverpool, pointing out that sporting directors in the Premier League tend to have less power at a club than their Bundesliga equivalents.
The journalist also highlighted the 59-year-old’s modus operandi in the transfer market, stating: “Schmadtke has overseen hundreds of moves in the last two decades, notching up plenty of hits as well as (inevitably) the odd dud, but he’s been more adept at bringing in solid performers such as the Nmecha brothers, Felix and Lukas or French centre-back Maxence Lacroix (all at Wolfsburg) than uncovering genuine superstars.”
As Honigstein also pointed out, Liverpool’s new sporting director has a reputation in his homeland for a ‘carefully cultivated gruff demeanour’, so it could be interesting to see how he takes to working alongside or under Jurgen Klopp rather than having a clear authority over him.
If Schmadtke can adapt smoothly to that cultural change and forge a good professional relationship with the manager, though, it has the makings of a very promising appointment.
Reds fans are accustomed to seeing their club pick up a series of astute acquisitions in the transfer market rather than splurging on marquee names, so their new sporting director could be a good fit, based on his history.
Over the past decade, Liverpool made an enviable habit of stellar recruitment, with the fees paid for Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Bobby Firmino, Andy Robertson, Gini Wijnaldum and Philippe Coutinho looking like bargains in hindsight.
In a similar vein, Schmadtke has a track record for shrewd purchases at his previous clubs, such as Anthony Modeste, Mame Biram Diouf, Lacroix, Lars Stindl, Ron-Robert Zieler and Wout Weghorst (Liverpool Echo).
There would be greater expectations at Anfield than in any of his prior roles, so the 59-year-old could find it tricker to shop for value on Merseyside, but his reputation for effective low-key signings for Klopp to turn into superstars bodes well ahead of his first transfer window at the helm with LFC.