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Liverpool Set to Name Michael Edwards as Sporting Director

The highly-regarded executive moves up in a reshuffle as Ian Ayre prepares to leave in 2017.

Liverpool v Villarreal CF - UEFA Europa League Semi Final: Second Leg Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

The 37-year old was previously the club’s technical director and had led the performance and analysis department in the infamous transfer committee prior to Jürgen Klopp’s arrival. As former CEO, Ian Ayre prepares to join TSV 1860 Munich at the end of the season, Fenway Sports Group is looking to return to the more continental transfer model of a sporting director working in tandem with the manager to execute transfers at all levels of the club.

In this set up, Edwards will most likely be responsible for handling the contractual negotiations and technical aspects of transfers, while Klopp will focus on target selection and recruitment. Edwards will also run the day to day operations at Melwood, including transfers into and out of the academy. The appointment has allegedly been fully endorsed by Klopp being that it is similar to the system he used at Borussia Dortmund.

A long-time servant of the club, the move represents the culmination of a rise that has seen Edwards go from Head of Analytics back in 2000 to now one of the most influential positions at Liverpool. He has reportedly been shadowing Ayre for the last 12-18 months in preparation for the role with the Echo reporting that Klopp has expressed his confidence “in both the knowledge and the expertise” he brings to the table.

The move is good news for Liverpool fans, as some of the most successful clubs with the most cohesive transfer policies in recent years employ a similar structure. In England alone, Chelsea’s Michael Emenalo and Manchester City’s Txiki Begiristain have put in place comprehensive frameworks that allow for consistency in transfer strategy regardless of the current manager at the helm, and it is no surprise that the two clubs together have claimed six of the last 11 league titles.

Viewed in contrast to the confused policies at a club like Manchester United, where in a post-Ferguson era, vice president Ed Woodard currently heads an incoherent transfer process that has assembled several years of unbalanced teams, it is good to know that Liverpool are heading in the right direction.

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