Chelsea identify Norwich City chief as potential new sporting director after Freund snub

Norwich City sporting director Stuart Webber has emerged as a surprise contender to join Chelsea as their new sporting director.

The 38-year-old is being targeted by the Blues as Todd Boehly attempts to restructure the club behind the scenes.

Webber has worked for Norwich City since 2017. He has helped them to two Championship titles but their two seasons in the Premier League have ended in relegation.

He has been criticised amid a fractious relationship with the fans who questioned his commitment to the Canaries after he revealed earlier this year he had started training to climb Mount Everest.

Webber helped improve the Canaries’ training facilities and the club earned new investment last month when Mark Attanasio, the owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, joined the board.

Webber would come in to work under Christopher Vivell, who is expected to join Chelsea as technical director.

Vivell has been Chelsea’s top target to replace Petr Cech, who left his technical director role in the summer.

The London club are understood to have held talks for some time with Vivell, who was sacked from the same role at RB Leipzig last week.

Chelsea’s new owners Boehly and Behdad Eghbali are thought to want to build a multi-club model at Stamford Bridge.

And Vivell’s expected appointment will bolster that ambition, given his experience of similar aims in the Red Bull set-up.

Webber is on the list at Chelsea as they look for a sporting director after RB Salzburg’s Christoph Freund ultimately rejected the chance to move to west London.

Freund had been expected to make the Chelsea move, only to have a change of heart after Salzburg persuaded him to stay put.

The RB Salzburg chief confirmed last month that a switch to Stamford Bridge was “out of the question”.

Fabrizio Romano subsequently reported that Freund’s move to Chelsea was “100% agreed”:

“What a crazy story this ended up being, with Christoph Freund now set to stay at Red Bull Salzburg, as confirmed yesterday,” Romano wrote for Caught Offside.

“It was a very big surprise as the deal between Freund and Chelsea was 100% agreed on Sunday afternoon.

“Both parties were ready to sign contracts this week on a five-year deal but then it collapsed because Red Bull group bosses wanted to keep Freund as an important part of their project.

“I think he could have been a great fit alongside Graham Potter, but it wasn’t to be.

“It was an incredible situation, changed in 24 hours – so it’s a big blow but at same point, Chelsea are already in contact with other candidates, more than one. The race is open.”

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