COMMENT: Christian Freund... Luis Campos... slapdash. Scattergun. Take your pick. Chelsea's search for a new sporting director is now reaching the stage of, 'Someone? Anyone?'...
For Todd Boehly and co, we have two words (no not those two), 'Marcel Brands'. What about another two? 'Frank Arnesen'. Or another? 'Damien Comolli'. What is it with this new board at Chelsea and shiny objects?
Has this really been thought through? Freund has built himself a good reputation at RB Salzburg. But Salzburg isn't Chelsea. And the Austrian Bundesliga isn't the Premier League. The same can be leveled at Oliver Mintzlaff of RB Leipzig, or the latest name Boehly is now turning to, Bayer Leverkusen's Tim Steidten. Talented, knowledgeable and successful in their respective competitions. But with no experience of English football - and also no connection to Chelsea.
Campos, of course, was a non-starter. Having only signed for PSG over the summer, the Portuguese wasn't about to skip out on a job just weeks in. But again, hiring Campos was no guarantee of success. Arnesen had a similar reputation. Comolli too. And Everton thought they'd hit the jackpot with Brands. But none of the three survived long-term in the Premier League.
Forget the name. Forget the shiny foreign thing. When you cast your eye across Europe and the most successful management teams, there's a common theme: Stability and connection.
Paolo Maldini and Ricky Massara offer that at Serie A champions AC Milan. Maldini needs no introduction, in his first meaningful job inside the game since retirement, he has thrived. Assisted by Massara, Maldini has proven himself a great talent spotter and man-manager. Having his playing history to lean on has been an advantage, sure. But his eye for potential and he and Massara's negotiating skills have built a title winning team on a shoestring budget.
In Spain, the La Liga and European champions are the absolute opposite of what we've seen at Chelsea since the club's sale. Florentino Perez, the Real Madrid president, delegates much of the market work to his long-time No2 and confidant Jose Angel Sanchez. Never someone to seek the spotlight, Sanchez is rarely recognised for the success of Real during the Florentino reign, but it is he who acts as a defacto sporting director. A genuine foundation stone of this era since 2009.
At a rejuvenated Barcelona, president Joan Laporta turned to former Blaugrana player Jordi Cruyff after winning last year's election and recruited Mateu Alemany from Valencia. Alemany and Laporta have known eachother for over 20 years. Again, like Milan, Laporta went with a former player - with a deep connection to the club - and an experienced, local dealmaker.
Chelsea did hold talks with Andrea Berta in May, though that quickly fizzled out. An Italian, Berta has been with Atletico Madrid for almost a decade, initially working as assistant to Miguel Angel Gil Jimenez before eventually taking charge of football operations himself. Again, stability, routine being the order of the day. Which we also see at Liverpool, where Julian Ward earned an internal promotion to succeed Michael Edwards.
Chelsea, of course, had that with Petr Cech. Even if Boehly remained steadfast on forcing Marina Granovskaia out the door, retaining - or even promoting - Cech would've been the wise choice. That some close Boehly insist it was Cech's decision to leave his role as technical advisor still does little for the American's faltering reputation. That he couldn't convince Cech to stay. To appeal to the former goalkeeper's loyalty. It does raise questions about Boehly's management.
Which does deserve scrutiny given the very public rejections Chelsea have suffered in this search. This should be a plum job. Among the most coveted in football. But Chelsea are being turned down again and again.
For Freund, this surely should've been an opportunity too good to miss. But he rejected it, stating: "Yes, it's true that Chelsea wanted me and we had talks. When such a big club asks it not only honours me and the work of Salzburg.
"It is of course a circumstance that entails personal considerations. But I've come to the conclusion I'm in the best hands with Salzburg and that a change is out of the question for me."
But it didn't. Which has been a similar thread across Europe. Campos. Edwards. Berta. They've all been approached and have turned Chelsea down. What is turning them off?
For this column, Chelsea have gone down the wrong path. Newcastle United have Dan Ashworth now working with Steve Nickson. Liverpool, as mentioned, have promoted Ward to replace Edwards. And Arsenal are now reaping the benefits of Edu's Gunners background. But for all their experience, the success of each sporting director will be dependent on budget and stability. Moving for a Campos or Berta did make sense - initially. You can understand it. But after so many rejections, how far down the shortlist does this Chelsea board wish to go?
Maldini, however, does offer Boehly a way forward. Just this week, we had news of a certain former captain enrolling for FIFA's club management diploma. Decent coaching experience. Great leadership qualities. And he bleeds Blue.