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Richard Hughes named new Liverpool sporting director

Liverpool have appointed Richard Hughes as their new sporting director; the 44-year-old will start his new role on June 1; first task for Hughes will be to find a successor for departing Reds manager Jurgen Klopp, who leaves Anfield at the end of the season

Richard Hughes
Image: Richard Hughes spent a decade as Bournemouth's technical director

Richard Hughes has been confirmed as Liverpool's new sporting director and will start his new role at the end of this season.

Hughes, 44, spent a decade as Bournemouth's technical director, before recently resigning from his role and is Michael Edwards's first appointment since being named Fenway Sports Group's [FSG] CEO of Football.

Hughes replaces Jorg Schmadtke, who took on the role last May, but only in a short-term basis before leaving after the January transfer window.

Edwards has had a long-standing desire to work with Hughes and they have a professional and personal relationship spanning over 20 years having previously worked together during Hughes's playing career at Portsmouth, when Edwards was the south coast club's head analyst under then manager Harry Redknapp.

Hughes arrives at Liverpool with a proven track record of signing young players - he brought the likes of Nathan Ake, Dominic Solanke, Callum Wilson and Aaron Ramsdale to Bournemouth - while he also speaks three languages and has good contacts in both France and Italy, where he grew up.

Edwards has had a long-standing desire to work with Hughes and they have a professional and personal relationship spanning over 20 years having previously worked together during Hughes's playing career at Portsmouth
Sky Sports News reporter Mark McAdam

Intriguingly, Hughes knows the agent of reported Liverpool managerial target Xabi Alonso having brought another of his clients, Andoni Iraola, to the Vitality last summer, while he was also reportedly keen for Roberto De Zerbi - another man understood to be on the shortlist to replace Jurgen Klopp - to manage Bournemouth.

It is understood when Julian Ward left his role as Liverpool's sporting director last summer, Edwards was surprised Hughes was not one of the candidates to be interviewed by club owners FSG.

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Sky Sport News' Melissa Reddy breaks down exactly why former Liverpool sporting director Michael Edwards has returned to the club.

"I am incredibly proud to be offered this opportunity. Liverpool FC is a unique club and I'm grateful to be given a chance to serve it in this capacity," Hughes told the club's website.

"People rightly talk about the rich history this organisation can boast, but it is the present and future which really excites me.

"It will be my job, working with Michael and leading the football operations team already in place, plus the wider staff at the AXA Training Centre, to make good decisions.

What's on Hughes's to-do list?

  • Choose Klopp's successor from reported shortlist of Xabi Alonso, Roberto De Zerbi and Ruben Amorim
  • Extend contracts of Salah, Van Dijk & Alexander-Arnold
  • Make decision on whether to offer veterans Joel Matip and Thiago Alcantara new deals

"That's really what the job entails: you have to make the kind of good decisions which enhance the prospects of having a team that wins and excites the supporters.

"It is what Liverpool have done well for a very long time and the benefits are there for everyone to see."

One of Hughes's first jobs will be to find a successor to Klopp, who announced in January he will be leaving the club at the end of the season.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League clash between Liverpool and Manchester City.

Meanwhile, also on Hughes's to-do list will be to try and convince the likes of Mohamed Salah, captain Virgil van Dijk and vice-captain Trent Alexander-Arnold to sign new deals at Anfield, with the trio's current contracts all currently set to expire in the summer of 2025.

Reacting to today's announcement, Edwards said: "I'm delighted Richard has agreed to join us in this vitally important position.

"I've known him for half of my life in a professional and personal capacity and he is absolutely someone who embodies the best values of Liverpool FC. I trust him completely.

"He has outstanding judgement and a track record of making smart decisions which benefit the organisations he represents.

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Sky Sports' Peter Stevenson and Adam Bate react to Manchester United's thrilling 4-3 win over Liverpool in the FA Cup quarter-finals.

"Both Richard and I are aware of the weight of responsibility that comes with working in this capacity for a club such as this. The fact he is excited and energised by the challenge ahead is important.

"It is clear to everyone that Jürgen will leave a legacy to build upon and in Richard we have the right person to make the key decisions and offer the leadership to take us forward into a bright future.

"As one very successful chapter will come to a close for Liverpool in the summer, the objective of everyone here is for another one to begin - and with Richard I am confident we have the right person in position for us to achieve this aim."

'Hughes has done incredible work at Bournemouth'

Sky Sports News' Mark McAdam:

"Hughes has worked at Bournemouth for more than 10 years - seven of the last nine of which have been in the Premier League. He has a very good relationship with Neill Blake, who is the club's chief executive, and built the club up through the leagues with Eddie Howe.

"He has a really good understanding of the Premier League and all the major leagues in Europe and has been working as a technical director at the highest level for a good number of years. If you look at the work Bournemouth have done in the transfer window, developing young players, he's done an incredible job as they don't have the biggest budget to work with and so have to be creative and clever.

"He has headed up the recruitment division, leading a team of very talented people working around him, but ultimately he had the final say along with the chief executive and manager on who they sign.

"Perhaps most importantly, Hughes has an excellent relationship with [new FSG CEO of Football] Michael Edwards, a track record of signing young players, he speaks three different languages and really good connections in France - Bournemouth's parent company own 33 per cent of Lorient.

"And Bournemouth also signed a number of players from Serie A during Hughes's time there - with him having grown up in Italy, he also has good connections there."

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