Ajax have stepped up their attempts to land Liverpool sporting director Julian Ward for the end of the season when he departs from his role at Anfield.
The Dutch club are looking for stability following the departure of Marc Overmars last year and in the last days have sought to talk to Ward, who is in the final months on Merseyside after announcing in November he would leave his role.
While the terms of his departure would see him wait two transfer windows before working for a Premier League club, it is understood he is free to join a foreign club in the summer. French club Nice, who are under the INEOS sport teams of Sir Jim Ratcliffe, are also interested in Ward.
Ward, 41, has worked abroad in Portugal previously in his career and Ajax believe they could persuade him to work from Amsterdam to be part of a rebuild at the club where Alfred Schreuder was recently dismissed as manager.
Ajax have targeted Ward as he has worked in the markets they recruit players from and see it as a unique opportunity that he is available. They have also looked at Alex Kroes but he appears set to stay in his role at AZ Alkmaar as director of international football strategy.
Ward worked under Michael Edwards, who left Liverpool at the end of the 2021/22 season, but it was announced before the World Cup that he would leave Anfield after one campaign as Edwards’ successor. He had arrived at the club in 2012 from Manchester City and spent five years as loan and pathways manager before his appointment as assistant sporting director in 2020.
Edwin van der Sar, Ajax’s chief executive, will be part of the process of recruiting the club’s next sporting director but others on the board will be part of the final decision. Van der Sar knows Ward from Champions League games in the last years and also visited Liverpool’s training facilities to build ideas for a new Ajax HQ.