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Jörg Schmadtke Emerges As Surprise Candidate For Liverpool Sporting Director Role

The German had retired from football before this past summer after stops as sporting director at Aachen, Hannover 96, FC Köln, and most recently VfL Wolfsburg.

VfL Wolfsburg v FC Bayern München - Bundesliga Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

As Liverpool wrap up their current season with a push for an unlikely Champions League spot, much of the off-the-field chatter has centered around how the Reds will rebuild their midfield this summer. Of course, one of the key components in the decision-making process is the Sporting Director, which puts Liverpool in an awkward spot.

In November, current Sporting Director Julian Ward state his intention to leave the club at the end of the season. It came as a shock as he had just taken over for longstanding transfer wizard Michael Edwards just months prior.

With a lot of work to do this summer, Liverpool have been working behind the scenes to get a new Sporting Director in place. While several names have been floated throughout the winter, a surprising candidate came to the fore this past weekend.

Just as Liverpool wrapped up their win over Brentford, news began to emerge that Liverpool were in talks with Jörg Schmadtke to take over for Julian Ward. Schmadtke has had plenty of experience in the role for clubs in Germany such as Hannover 96, FC Köln, and most recently VfL Wolfsburg. The 59 year old retired from football this past summer, stating the need to take a break and spend more time with family.

“I’ve been doing all this for so long and I’ve realized that it’s time to end this chapter,” said Schmadtke upon announcing his retirement.

“There are other things in life that I would like to do. First and foremost I think of my wife, my family, who had to put back many years.”

The German is known for his big personality as well as his ability to build successful teams on a budget. He has, however, had a falling out with managers and ownership at pretty much each stop along the way. Despite his gruff and forthright demeanor in front of the press, Schmadtke has alluded to the fact it is at least partially a front, stating: “I’m not as big a dick as some think”.

Despite all of their years together in the Bundesliga, Schmadtke and Jürgen Klopp have rarely crossed paths on the pitch. Schmadtke was the goalkeeper when Klopp was on trial at Fortuna Düsseldorf, and apparently did not have a positive impression of Klopp as a player. According to Archie Rhind-Tutt, a freelance journalist in Germany, the two know each other more through both being friends with German band Die Toten Hosen.

While there could still be further twists in the story, these seem to be the first solid links to someone to fill the Sporting Director role. It seems likely that Liverpool will try to get a deal done quickly so they can roll into the summer ready to negotiate and sign some much needed midfield reinforcements.

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