Published On: Fri, May 10th, 2024
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Ex-Liverpool chief Julian Ward completes return after snubbing Man Utd | Football | Sport

Former Liverpool chief Julian Ward has made a surprise return to the club’s ownership group, Fenway Sports Group (FSG), just a year after leaving his post. He has been appointed as the technical director, while Pedro Marques, who recently joined from Benfica, has taken up the role of director of football development.

Ward had previously served under Michael Edwards, who himself has returned to Liverpool as FSG CEO of football. Both Ward and Marques are stepping into newly created roles within FSG’s broader structure.

Interestingly, Ward had been contemplating a global technical director position with INEOS Football Group, owned by Sir Jim Ratcliffe who holds a 25 per cent stake in Manchester United. However, he was persuaded to make a comeback to Liverpool.

Ward famously stepped down from his role at Anfield having replaced Edwards previously, citing the need for a change. The timely return of Ward so soon, along with Edwards back at the club, has raised certain theories regarding departing manager Jurgen Klopp.

Talk has quickly gathered pace on social media, drawing links between the returning individuals at Liverpool and the imminent exit of Klopp. It has led many fans and pundits alike that perhaps the likes of Edwards and Ward grew tired of working within the structure which allocated Klopp so much personal power.

The duo will oversee the branching into a new era at Anfield, and are expected to report into the soon-to-be confirmed new manager Arne Slot, who is to be appointed in a more European ‘head coach’ role at Liverpool.

Meanwhile, Richard Hughes will be joining from Bournemouth this summer to fill the shoes of Ward and Edwards in their previous roles. His responsibilities will encompass recruitment, negotiations, medical and science operations, as well as administrative and facilities management.

Ward, who was promoted to replace Edwards in 2022 following his departure after a decade-long stint as sporting director, is expected to supervise player development across FSG’s football operations. Notably, he played a pivotal role in negotiating several high-profile transfers for Liverpool, including club-record signing Darwin Nunez and deals for Luis Diaz and Cody Gakpo.

Jorg Schmadtke, who took over from Ward as interim sporting director, is set to depart Liverpool at the end of this season coinciding with Jurgen Klopp‘s exit.

Meanwhile, Edwards, in his capacity as CEO of Football, has been given the responsibility to scout for new clubs for investment, as FSG aims to establish a multi-club ownership model akin to City Football Group.

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