Liverpool have appointed Jorg Schmadtke as their new sporting director with the German taking the reins at Anfield in time for what could be a pivotal transfer window for the Premier League side. The 59-year-old will formally take the job on June 1, succeeding Julian Ward in a position that has been the subject of much turbulence over recent months with Michael Edwards having only stepped down at the end of the 2021-22 season.
Notably, Liverpool did not announce the length of Schmadtke's contract at the club, which is believed to be relatively short initially, but they will be hoping that the former Wolfsburg sporting director can quickly gel with Jurgen Klopp and owners Fenway Sports Group.
"Firstly, I would like to welcome Jorg to Liverpool Football Club in the knowledge that he will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience into a role in which such qualities can only be beneficial both to him and us. Jorg will work with our football operations department as it continues to provide support for Jurgen Klopp, in keeping with our ongoing endeavor to keep growing and developing the club in all areas," Fenway Sports Group president Mike Gordon said.
"At the same time as we welcome Jorg, we must also bid a fond farewell to Julian Ward, who has served us with unstinting diligence, fortitude and energy in a number of roles, the most recent one being sporting director."
Schmatdke's appointment came as something of a surprise in England and Germany but Liverpool will be hoping that their new hire can reprise some of his most successful signings at Wolfsburg, which include bringing Wout Weghorst to Europe's top-five leagues and picking up reliable left back Jerome Rousillon for just €5 million.
He certainly joins at a high-pressure moment for Liverpool's recruitment department, who are targeting multiple new midfielders as they bid to address to problem position that plagued Klopp last season. The Reds lead the race for Brighton's Alexis Mac Allister but are not expected to settle with just one new player in that position, particularly in light of the departures of James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita. Chelsea's Mason Mount and Ryan Gravenberch of Bayern Munich have been linked with a move to Anfield.
Those are the more immediate concerns for a club that missed out on Champions League football for the first time since the 2016-17 season but there will be a longer term project to rebuild Klopp's first great side, which won the Premier League and Champions League under the German. That is underway with two-thirds of the legendary front three (Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino) gone or about to go while Darwin Nunez, Luis Diaz and Cody Gakpo have been recruited to succeed them. However Mohamed Salah turns 31 in the summer, and while he has shown few signs of slowing down, Virgil van Dijk, 32 in July, has. Andrew Robertson might also have peaked and the midfielders that remain have all showed signs of slippage.
There is the outline of a team of the future in the newly recruited forwards, promising midfielders such as Curtis Jones and the defensive duo of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ibrahima Konate but there will be work to do to fill in the blanks. Schmadtke has little time then to ease himself into his new role.