Chelsea are closing in on an agreement with Southampton to appoint Joe Shields as their director of recruitment. He is the head of senior recruitment at St Mary’s and is highly regarded by Chelsea for his work there and at Manchester City.
Shields joined Southampton in July and has been responsible, for instance, for signing Roméo Lavia, a defensive midfielder for whom Chelsea then had a £50m offer rejected. Lavia was recruited from City along with two other teenage talents, Juan Larios and Sam Edozie, and the 20-year-old goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu.
The move made by Shields at Southampton for the defender Armel Bella-Kotchap, who was bought from Bochum and made his Germany debut last month, is also regarded by Chelsea as a mark of his suitability.
Shields joined Southampton after nine years at City working in scouting and recruitment for their academy. He previously held scouting or recruitment roles at Crystal Palace and Fulham.
Chelsea’s move for Shields comes as they make changes to the infrastructure under the ownership of Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital. The club are poised to appoint Christopher Vivell as their technical director after the German was sacked by RB Leipzig and also want a sporting director.