With the transfer window closed and a new manager in place and aligned with the club’s (new owners’) vision, Chelsea’s sporting director search is ramping up. The current leading candidate appears to be Christoph Freund, of Salzburg and the Red Bull football family, but another candidate who has “come under consideration” is Bayer Leverkusen’s Tim Steidten.
According to The Athletic, Freund remains very much the leading candidate — especially after Freund himself didn’t dismiss the rumors and rule out the possibility — but Steidten also fits the profile of a relatively unknown “team player who is strong in data and scouting”. The 43-year-old has been with Leverkusen since 2019, joining initially as a “Squad Planner” and recently being promoted to sporting director to replace Simon Rolfes, who himself was promoted to “Managing Director of Sport” to fill the vacancy left by Rudi Völler’s departure this summer. (One of his first bits of business was to bring in Callum Hudson-Odoi on loan, so we know he’s got an eye for talent!)
Given Steidten’s recent promotion, it would seem unlikely that he’d want to leave, but money talks. Before Bayer, he spent ten years at Werder Bremen as a scout and executive assistant to the CEO, so he certainly has relevant experience.