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Liverpool sporting director Julian Ward ‘to step down at end of season’

Liverpool sporting director Julian Ward ‘to step down at end of season’

Liverpool sporting director Julian Ward has reportedly informed the club that he will be leaving at the end of the season.

The 41-year-old previously served as Michael Edwards‘s right-hand man before taking the top job in the summer of 2021 following Edwards’s departure.

Since Ward’s promotion, Liverpool have secured what could prove to be the club-record signing of Darwin Nunez, as well as bringing in Fabio Carvalho and Calvin Ramsay in the most recent transfer window.

Ward also oversaw January’s move for Luis Diaz and recent contract renewals – including Mohamed Salah‘s – but The Athletic now reports that the former midfielder will be stepping down from his duties at the end of the 2022-23 campaign.

The report claims that Ward intends to take a break from football, but he will continue to work with the Anfield club for the next six months while the Reds work to find a successor.

Liverpool owner John W Henry pictured on January 19, 2020© Reuters

Liverpool are understood to have been left surprised and saddened by Ward’s decision and have reluctantly accepted his resignation, but they do not believe he is taking another footballing job elsewhere.

Ward endured a brief playing period in the lower leagues with Morecambe, Hyde, Kidsgrove Athletic, Larne and Lisburn before retiring in 2008, having combined his career with an analytical role for England’s Under-20s.

The Englishman spent two years as Portugal’s chief analyst before joining Manchester City as a scout in 2010, enjoying another two years with the Etihad club before joining Liverpool in 2012.

Over the past decade, Ward has held various positions at Anfield, starting out as a scout before being promoted to loan player manager and becoming Edwards’s assistant sporting director in December 2020.

Ward’s imminent departure represents another dramatic change within the Anfield ranks, with principal owner John W Henry of Fenway Sports Group considering a sale after 12 years at the helm.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates on November 6, 2022© Reuters

FSG revealed earlier this month that they would consider new investment into the club, and Reds chairman Tom Werner recently confirmed that a full sale could be on the cards.

A potential takeover is believed to have been one of Ward’s key motivations to step down from his role, but Werner has insisted that FSG are prepared to remain in control of Liverpool for years to come if no suitable bids are received.

FSG partner Sam Kennedy has also affirmed that the American company have received plenty of interest from potential investors, but it is unclear if there are any concrete discussions with possible buyers.

Liverpool sit sixth in the Premier League table after a difficult start to the campaign and return to action after the World Cup against Manchester City in the fourth round of the EFL Cup on December 22.

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