Christoph Freund has turned down interest from Chelsea to remain as sporting director of Red Bull Salzburg.
Freund held talks with Chelsea over fulfilling the role at Stamford Bridge and was reported to have agreed terms with the west Londoners, with Graham Potter having given his backing to his arrival from the Austrian champions.
Freund has contributed to over €500m in profit from player sales at Salzburg, with his greatest success stories including the likes of Sadio Mane, Erling Haaland and Dayot Upamecano.
The 45-year-old admitted he was flattered following the approach from Chelsea but confirmed on Tuesday that he would be remaining at Salzburg.
“As I have already confirmed in interviews, Chelsea FC was interested in me,” Freund said, as per The Athletic.
“When such a big club asks, it not only honours me and the work of FC Red Bull Salzburg, it is of course also a circumstance that entails personal considerations. But I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m in the best of hands with FC Red Bull Salzburg and that a change is out of the question for me.
“We’re in the middle of a very intense phase and have important tasks to do in the (Austrian) Bundesliga, Cup and Champions League — that’s what my focus and concentration are all on.”
Chelsea will now turn to alternative candidates and have been linked with Bayer Leverkusen’s Tim Steidten. Michael Edwards, the former sporting director of Liverpool, was another rumoured target but intends to take a break from the game after leaving Anfield at the end of last season.