Jörg Schmadtke: Tasked to rebuild Liverpool - does the 59-year-old have what it takes?
Is there a chance that former Köln and Wolfsburg sporting director Jörg Schmadtke could come out of retirement and take over as the new sporting director at Liverpool? According to Fabrizio Romano, Schmadtke will be in England in the coming days and is set to become the surprise strong man next to German head coach Jürgen Klopp.
According to numerous reports, the 59-year-old is indeed in close conversations with Liverpool, and it is possible that Schmadtke could join the club initially as a consultant and that his position as a sporting director would be made permanent at a later date. That sort of model has been used at other clubs. Luis Campos is currently a consultant at Paris Saint-Germain, and even though he is making the main decisions is not listed as a sporting director or CEO.
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At first glance, that decision would be a surprise. Schmadtke left Wolfsburg in January and announced that he would retire from football altogether. “I want to see a bit of the world,” Schmadtke said in an interview with Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung. “There are also a few books that I want to read, and I have some other tasks in my life that have nothing to do with football.” Now it appears that Schmadtke is on his way back to football after all.
From retirement to Liverpool - Schmadtke to replace Ward?
Current Liverpool sporting director Julian Ward announced in November that he was going to leave the club at the end of the season. Since then, the club has been looking for a successor and might now have found their favorite in Schmadtke. It would be the first time that the former goalkeeper would work abroad, and the long list of tasks might be the reason for Schmadtke to come out of retirement.
Schmadtke would certainly be confronted with a massive task. Although Liverpool are still in the race for a Champions League spot, a big rebuild is likely this upcoming summer. In his new role, Schmadtke would work closely together with long-time scouts Dave Fallows and Barry Hunter to identify the necessary talent for the rebuild. Liverpool, who have the sixth most valuable squad in the world, will see the contracts of six players expiring this summer with a number of players already confirmed as leaving. Klopp has recently suggested that the rebuild will be painful.
“Whatever we will do in the summer, it might not be enough for some people,” Klopp said. “But with a few smart transfers, we will, without a doubt, get better.” Roberto Firmino, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keïta, and James Milner have already been confirmed as players set to leave the club in the coming months. In Schmadtke, Klopp is hoping to find an ally to oversee what will be the first true rebuild of his career. The 55-year-old German manager famously left Dortmund rather than face a rebuild at the Bundesliga club, and throughout this season, there were many parallels drawn between Klopp’s last year in the Bundesliga and the current situation at Liverpool.
Schmadtke to Liverpool – Highs and lows with Köln and Wolfsburg
In Schmadtke, Klopp will certainly get a strong and experienced ally. In terms of temperament, there are also some parallels. First, the positives, Schmadtke is seen as a successful builder. With Schmadtke in charge, Alemannia Aachen, Hannover 96, Köln, and Wolfsburg all had great initial success. The first three would reach the Europa League with the sporting director overseeing proceedings, and Wolfsburg even managed a return to the Champions League.
The time at Wolfsburg aside, Schmadtke managed to do all this by spending little. What also stood out was his ability to identify strong head coaches. Whether it was Mirko Slomka, Peter Stöger, or Oliver Glasner, those head coaches all made their first steps under Schmadtke. The problem, however, has been that he would ultimately fall out with all three of them. Glasner even left the club after one of Wolfsburg’s most successful seasons, moving on to Eintracht Frankfurt.
In fact, Schmadtke, in typical goalkeeper fashion, had a reputation for being confrontational. Whether it was the head coaches or the bosses above him, Schmadtke would always leave in a messy divorce. Some of this might, however, come down to the 59-year-old’s relentless drive to perfection. Furthermore, Glasner falling out with Frankfurt sporting director Markus Krösche in recent weeks might underline that the conflict was not always one-way and that Schmadtke. In fact, that experience of working with highly talented yet complicated head coaches, might help him deal with Klopp.
Schmadtke to Liverpool – Osimhen transfer only big concern
Finally, there is Schmadtke’s transfer policy. The headlines will focus on Schmadtke’s handling of the Victor Osimhen situation at Wolfsburg. Signed for just €3.5 million from Ultimate Strikers Academy in 2017, Osimhen struggled for playing time at Wolfsburg and was ultimately sold for €3.5m to Charleroi, where he became a sensational player and was first sold for €22.4m to Lille, then €75m to Napoli and has since improved his market value to €100m.
The bust-ups with coaches aside, it will be the Osimhen transfer that will stand out as Schmadtke’s biggest failure. But in fairness, the striker was signed by previous sporting director Klaus Allofs, and it was up to Schmadtke to oversee what was considered a difficult situation.
Perhaps a bigger concern for Liverpool fans will be Schmadtke’s lack of experience at big clubs. Although hugely experienced, the falling outs with upper management and head coaches ultimately prevented Schmadtke to be signed by Bayern or Dortmund. It also means that the former goalkeeper never had to sign a true star or handle large transfer fees. Those aspects will be new at Liverpool and will be a true test of his management ability.Homepage
- Date of Birth/Age:
- 16.03.1964 (59)
- Current club:
- Current Position:
- Managing Director Sport
- Date of Birth/Age:
- 16.06.1967 (55)
- Current club:
- Liverpool FC
- Current Position:
- Contract until:
- Jun 30, 2026
- In charge since:
- Oct 7, 2015
- Total Market Value:
- Premier League
- Jürgen Klopp
- Squad size:
- Latest Transfer:
- Cody Gakpo