David Ornstein shares what he's heard about Liverpool's sporting director search

The Athletic's David Ornstein has shared his latest on the search at Liverpool for a new sporting director. The Reds will lose Jorg Schmadtke this summer after one year in the role.

Liverpool are on the hunt for a new manager for next season but that isn't actually their priority hire right now. Instead, Liverpool are focusing on finding a new sporting director.

It makes sense - any new sporting director is likely to be involved in the managerial search. That's not necessarily true the other way around.

So how's the process going? The Athletic's David Ornstein offered his latest in a Q+A for the publication, including a rough timeline.

"I hear Liverpool/FSG would ideally like the sporting director situation decided by the end of March," he says. "You would assume that person would then spearhead the manager / head coach search. I'm sure movements will already be taking place behind the scenes.

Ornstein then mentions four names who are supposedly on Liverpool's shortlist for the role.

"Ricky Massara and Florent Ghisolfi are among the operators who Liverpool like," says Ornstein. "While existing staff like David Fallows and Barry Hunter are very highly thought of - and it feels like time is of the essence."

Massara is the former sporting director at AC Milan, while Florent Ghisolfi is currently in the role at OGC Nice. There have also been links to Tim Steidten at West Ham United, though Ornstein doesn't mention him here.

It sounds as though we're not too far away from hearing who the new sporting director is, then. Liverpool hope to have things sorted in a little over a month, allowing for plenty of time in the managerial search.

Of course, Liverpool will be long into their scouting for that role and it's very possible they've already settled on Xabi Alonso. They face a fight to get him, but it very unlikely that anyone will usurp him as the no.1 choice.

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