Liverpool sporting director will leave the club at end of season
Michael Edwards has been a key figure in Liverpool’s recent success. He arrived at the red side of Merseyside in November 2011 and has certainly left his mark on the club. He joined Liverpool as the head of performance and analysis and then was promoted to sporting director five years later.
Edwards was massively involved in the recruitment of many current Liverpool squad members and has a great relationship with the players and coaches. He is responsible for bringing in several key players including Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk, Alisson Becker and Sadio Mane.
Liverpool’s sporting director has also been praised for his exceptional ability to sell players at a great profit — some of the players he sold will never be valued anywhere close to what he was able to move them on for. Some of the most notable profit returns include the transfers of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona, Rhian Brewster to Sheffield United and Dominic Solanke to AFC Bournemouth.
Edwards wrote a lengthy and informative open letter to Liverpool fans explaining his decision to leave the club.
“Ten years, that’s a pretty long time in anyone’s working life. In football terms, it is an era in itself, particularly at a club like Liverpool where the expectations and standards are never anything other than as high as the supporters deserve. To be part of this club during this period has been a privilege due to the people I have been fortunate enough to work with and the success we have enjoyed.”
In the letter, Edwards says he always planned to leave the club after 10 years.
“I had always planned to cap my time at the club to a maximum of 10 years. I’ve loved working here, but I am a big believer in change. I think it’s good for the individual and, in a work setting, good for the employer, too. Over my time here we have changed so many things (hopefully for the better) but someone new brings a different perspective, new ideas and can hopefully build on (or change) the things that have been put in place beforehand.”
Edwards will remain at the club through the 2021/22 season and then will pass his position on to current assistant sporting director Julian Ward. He has assured everyone that he will prepare Ward as much as he can so Ward is ready for his new role.
“Julian has been building up the skill set for this role for many years and there are countless elements of his development that could be highlighted, none more so than the outstanding work he did in creating our loan department six years ago.”
“Last year, he took on the role of assistant sporting director and over the past 12 months he has been introduced to other facets of the role that are vital to its success. Again, Julian’s elevation is wholly in keeping with what I believe to be a key factor of the Liverpool Way, with promotion from within ensuring expertise, experience and institutional knowledge are cherished in the way that they should be. Over the remainder of this season, I will continue to support him as we complete the leadership transition,”
Liverpool owners, Fenway Sports Group, tried numerous times to convince Edwards to stay at the club, but Edwards never signed an extension. Although those who know Edwards best say he does not have another job lined up, rumors are circulating he will join Newcastle United as director of football in the near future.
Edwards will be missed for numerous reasons, but in short, he is the man that has built this Champions League and Premier League-winning Liverpool side.
He is an exceptional negotiator and is considered one of the best in the world when it comes to negotiating sizable fees for outgoing players. Liverpool fans and FSG will miss Edward’s expertise, but there is reason to feel confident that his assistant, Julian Ward, will continue to push the club forward.