Red Bull Salzburg’s Christoph Freund has a change of heart and will no longer accept Chelsea’s Director of Football role..
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Red Bull Salzburg’s Christoph Freund has a change of heart and will no longer accept Chelsea’s Director of Football role..

ESPN, Daily MailSky Sports Germany other media reported that Red Bull Salzburg Director of Football Christoph Fruend has suddenly decided to take a dramatic “U-turn”, by remaining at the club and not switch to Chelsea.


According to reports, Fruend had already reached a verbal agreement to join Chelsea, but after repeated discussions with the Red Bull Group, he decided to stay in his post and reject Chelsea. The news was first reported by renowned Italian transfer journalist Fabrizio Romano and were later confirmed by the Red Bull football group and Fruende himself on Tuesday.

Gentlemen doesn’t abdandon their old ones and pursue a new favourite halfway

Fruend clarified that, as he said in an earlier interview, Chelsea are indeed very interested in him. It is also a great honour for him and for Red Bull Salzburg to get a club as majestic as Chelsea to admire him, as it meant that his efforts for the club are recognised by others.

He said that he did consider about it for a long time, but since he is already on the right development path with all the projects and plans that he had impelented, to leave Red Bull Salzburg halfway through now is just impossible.

Fruend added that the club is currently in a tense and important stage of preparing to fight for the Champions League, the Austrian Bundesliga and the Austrian Cup glory, It is very irresponsible and unprofessional to abandon the efforts and preparations made during this period of time in order to accept new challenges halfway through.

However, Fruend did say he will leave the door open for more possibilities, he said that he would still consider switching to Chelsea at an appropriate time in the future, but the timing is just wrong for him to switch now.

Colleague from sister club also said no

Coincidentally, his sister club colleague, Red Bull Group’s Global Head of Football and RB Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff also rejected Chelsea’s offer.

According to David Ornstein, the renowned transfer journalist of The Athletic, Chelsea also approached Mintzlaff while approaching Fruend.

Ornstein reports that Chelsea attempted to poach Mintzlaff over together at the same time and create a similar role for him in order to help the club try to emulate Red Bull’s concept of a successful multi-club ownership business model, but as the Blues just hired Tom Glick as President of Business, Mintzlaff has no intention of coming over to replace Glick straightaway. Moreover as Max Eberl is also about to take office as the Sporting Director of RB Leipzig from Borussia Monchengladbach, Mintzlaff voluntarily asked Chelsea to end negotiations on the issue as he felt he is obliged to guide Eberl on the the business model of the Red Bull Football Group.

Trying to imitate others in the name of exploiting legal loopholes

Chelsea’s new American owner, Todd Boehly, recently stated publicly that he would like to replicate the Red Bull Football Group by setting up his own multi-club group football business model to ensure that young players all around the world, especially South America, can go to their future Portuguese sister club to earn enough points as a way of bypassing the loopholes United Kingdom’s Post-Brexit new immigration law and work permit application scoring system in order to re-integrate them into the Chelsea system.

Willing to part ways with huge amount of money to keep hold of prized assets

The refusal of Fruend and Mintzlaff proves that this is the best proof of the Red Bull Football Group’s most direct and public high-profile towards Boehly. According to Romano, in order to prevent Chelsea from trying the same trick again in the future, Dietrich Mateschitz, co-founder and chairman of Red Bull Energy Drink Group, has confirmed that he will renew the contracts of Fruend and Mintzlaff.

Although Fruend only renewed his contract with Red Bull Salzburg until the summer of 2026 last year, in order to retain their talents, Mateschitz will not hesitate to offer a new generous contract with ludricous release clause to Fruend and Mintzlaff as well as Salzburg’s CEO Stefan Reiter to prevent the Blues’ giants from having any second thoughts about poaching the trio away.

Having the potential to eye raw talents with wisdom

Fruend, 45, has joined Red Bull Salzburg since its founding in the summer of 2006. At first he was a data analyst and scout, and later he was promoted to the Director of Football under the guidance of former Manchester United interim head coach Ralf Rangnick. Fruend’s past successes in his ability to discover Sadio Mané, Naby Keïta, Takumi Minamino, Erling Håland, Karim Adeyemi, Kevin Kampl and etc. and to cultivate each of them into today’s world-class players in football has been praised after by many.

The 47-year-old Mintzlaff joined the Red Bull Football Group as a Consultant and assistant to the late former Liverpool legendary French head coach Gerard Houllier upon the latter’s invitation. Later, after Houllier left the team , Mintzlaff was promoted to CEO of RB Leipzig in the summer of 2014, but after Rangnick, who also served as the Global Consultant of Football, also left the team, Mintzlaff began to be named the Global Head of Football of the Red Bull Football Group concurrently, while continuing to serve as the German Bundesliga side’s CEO.

Unclear about future plans yet 

Last week, the Evening Standard also reported that Michael Edwards, the former Liverpool Director of Football, clearly said that after leaving the Reds this summer, he hopes to temporarily leave football with a sabbatical to take a break and recharge, and will only accept a new job offer after at least a year, hence he rejected the Premier League giants’ offer, and now with Fruend and Mintzlaff also followed suit and refused their offer, Boehly’s plans to hire a Director of Football has hit on a sutbling block again, it will be interesing wait and find out who they will be targeting next.



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