'Outstanding' figure leaving Liverpool is a much bigger blow than Michael Edwards' exit


'Outstanding' figure leaving Liverpool is a much bigger blow than Michael Edwards' exit

Julian Ward leaving Liverpool is a much bigger blow to the Reds than Michael Edwards’ exit. This will be tough to deal with.

News broke on Thursday, per The Times, that Julian Ward will leave Liverpool. He’s had the role of sporting director since the summer but wants a break from football. He’ll officially give up the role at the end of the season.

It’s a significant blow to Liverpool. Ward hasn’t been in the role very long, making this a shock decision and one the Reds aren’t entirely ready to contend with.

That’s why this is a much bigger blow than when Michael Edwards announced his intention to depart a year ago. That one again came as a surprise but only really to fans. Liverpool had actually made preparations for Edwards’ exit.

Principally, that meant grooming Ward for the role. He’d worked as Edwards’ assistant for a while, learning the job inside and out, knowing exactly what Liverpool want.

He seamlessly moved into the position, and the club trusted him entirely. As shown by the fact he led their pursuit of Luis Díaz despite Edwards still technically working as the sporting director last January.

Julian Ward leaving Liverpool

Here’s what Edwards had to say about Ward in his resignation letter:

“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,” he said, per Liverpoolfc.com.

“It was during this period that he not only laid the groundwork for a long-term process that continues to provide significant benefit to players and club, he also accelerated his learning on many of the aspects you deal with as a sporting director.

Photo by Nick Taylor/Liverpool FC/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

“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.”

That softened the blow of losing Edwards significantly. Here was someone trusted, knowledgable and already at the club. There was a seamless transition from one sporting director to the next and importantly, the rest of the recruitment team knew him – including Jurgen Klopp.

Now, Klopp will reportedly play a role in building the next recruitment plan. It’s a smart move but one that highlights how difficult things will be this time. Unlike with Edwards, there’s a need to build something – and that could go either way.

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