Exclusive: Chelsea to appoint Christopher Vivell as technical director

Christopher Vivell - Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
Christopher Vivell - Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Christopher Vivell will join Chelsea as the club’s new technical director, with the Todd Boehly-Clearlake Capital ownership set to make more senior football appointments.

RB Leipzig announced on Friday that Vivell had left his role as technical director at the German club due to ‘contrasting views’ and Telegraph Sport exclusively reported that the 35-year-old will join Chelsea.

Vivell is understood to have held talks with Chelsea earlier this week and will take up the technical director role, with the club also aiming to make more senior appointments.

The Boehly-Clearlake ownership have been discussing appointing a sporting director alongside a technical director, while there is still space for a chief executive or general manager on Chelsea’s new-look board.

Vivell is expected to be responsible for data and scouting, and will work alongside head coach Graham Potter and recruitment specialist Kyle Macaulay while reporting into the owners.

Explaining how he worked within the Leipzig structure, which may provide a clue as to how Chelsea will divide duties between different posts once all their jobs are filled, Vivell said: “I’d like to explain it this way. Managers think from game to game, sporting directors think from one transfer window to the next, technical directors think three transfer windows ahead.”

On Leipzig’s website, Vivell’s responsibilities were described as being ‘for the strategic direction of squad planning in line with an overarching transfer philosophy. This includes all recruitment and scouting measures, across all age groups and on a global scale, including in Brazil and the USA’. It added that he was also ‘responsible for the development and maintenance of the global RB footballing philosophy’.

The move for Vivell underlines the desire of Boehly and Clearlake to follow the Red Bull multi-club model and he represents a significant addition well in advance of the January transfer window after the departures of Marina Granovskaia, Petr Cech and Scott McLachlan, who had worked closely together on recruitment and strategy.

Boehly made himself Chelsea’s interim sporting director, negotiating on Chelsea’s summer transfers, and is likely to keep that role until the club appoint a permanent replacement.

Chelsea have taken a close interest in the Red Bull model since the takeover and failed in a move for sporting director Christoph Freud, who decided to remain at RB Salzburg. It is believed that Vivell had already been lined up to potentially move to London with the Austrian.

News of Vivell comes at the end of a week in which it emerged that striker Christopher Nkunku has signed a pre-contract agreement to move from Leipzig to Stamford Bridge.

Telegraph Sport also revealed that Chelsea will try to complete what would now be a triple raid on Leipzig by looking to sign defender Josko Gvardiol.

Croatia defender Josko Gvardiol could be heading to Stamford Bridge - GETTY IMAGES
Croatia defender Josko Gvardiol could be heading to Stamford Bridge - GETTY IMAGES

Chelsea have retained physio Freddie Murray and staff at his Remedy clinic on a consultancy basis, following the dismissals of medical director Paco Biosca and head physio Thierry Laurent.

Former defender Murray has previously treated Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, who is a client of public relations specialist Barbara Charone, who became a Chelsea director as part of the Boehly-Clearlake takeover.

Boehly was at Chelsea’s training ground to watch the players train and speak with Potter on Friday. Potter refused to talk publicly about Vivell, but did outline how a technical director would compliment the job he is doing.

“I’ve always had good relationships with the technical director, sporting director, or whatever the term is you want to use,” said Potter. “I think it’s more of a strategic one for the club, in terms of aligning everything and the resources that you have, making sure that fits well.

“Normally, it’s a source of support for the head coach. It can be a source of support and opinion, but mostly it’s there just to connect the club I think. The head coach’s main responsibility is the first team, of course, and the results of the first team. But to have someone there who connects the club to make sure that strategically we’re on the right path I think is an important role.”

Potter confirmed that Wesley Fofana’s knee injury is not serious and that he is hopeful the defender will play for Chelsea again before the Premier League breaks for the World Cup next month.

“Wesley is not as bad as we first thought so that's good, because after the (AC Milan) game, of course, we were concerned,” said Potter. “It will be a few weeks I think but considerably better than it could be but we'll miss him for a few weeks.”