Klopp claims he was 'surprised' that Julian Ward decided to step down
Jurgen Klopp admits he was ‘surprised’ at Julian Ward’s decision to step down as Liverpool’s sporting director – just six months into the job… but claims his departure ‘will have no impact’ on their January transfer window
- Liverpool’s sporting director Julian Ward will step down at the end of the season
- Ward only assumed his role earlier this year, but is leaving for personal reasons
- Reds boss Klopp claimed he was left ‘surprised’ by Ward’s decision to step down
- The German insisted it ‘will have no impact’ on their business in January window
Jurgen Klopp has claimed that Julian Ward’s decision to step down as Liverpool’s sporting director ‘will have no impact’ on their January transfer window.
Ward, last month, informed the club he will step down from his position at the end of the season despite only taking over from Michael Edwards at the end of the last campaign.
Some fans were left concerned with the timing of the announcement – with the January transfer window coming up – but Klopp reassured supporters that Ward remains ‘100 per cent committed’ to the club.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said he was surprised by Julian Ward’s decision to step down
Julian Ward will walk away from his position as sporting director at the end of the season
Speaking at his press conference on Friday, Klopp said: ‘It was a surprise when Julian told me but we work completely normal together until that day when he will leave.
‘He’s 100 per cent committed & everything is fine. He told me after the Southampton game. I was surprised in that moment but it’s his decision.
‘It will have no impact on this period (January window), not at all. We were completely normal together and never had a problem.’
It is understood that Ward’s decision has been made for personal reasons and that the club have reluctantly accepted his period of notice.
Ward has held a number of positions within Liverpool’s technical staff since he joined them in 2011, before succeeding the influential Michael Edwards.
Ward (right) enjoys a close relationship with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (centre)
The Reds sporting director only took over from Michael Edwards (left) at the end of last season
As sporting director, Ward was instrumental in securing Liverpool’s record-breaking signing of Darwin Nunez from Benfica and completing the contract extension for Mohamed Salah.
There have been a number of other new deals in recent months, too, with Diogo Jota, Joe Gomez and Curtis Jones all committing their futures to the club.
The sudden development came as shock to many at the club, given Ward’s close relationship with Jurgen Klopp – who he regularly plays paddle tennis with.
It’s understood that the Merseyside club will look for an external candidate to replace Ward.
Ward was instrumental in Liverpool making their record-breaking signing of Darwin Nunez
There is no indication at this stage as to who that will be but, at a juncture when Chelsea are also looking for a new sporting director, it is not a time when Liverpool will be able to be too passive in their search.
Former Borussia Dortmund chief scout Sven Mislintat is a candidate to takeover as Liverpool sporting Director in summer 2023.
The deals Mislintat is credited with a role in include the acquisitions of Robert Lewandoswki, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mats Hummels, Ousmane Dembele and Shinji Kagawa.
Although successful in the Bundesliga, Mislintat’s sole Premier League experience came as a director at Arsenal, during which time he made eight signings, with only two being sold for a profit.
Sven Mislintat is a reported candidate for the sporting director role at Liverpool next summer
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