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Chelsea make offer for Brighton’s head of recruitment – 16 months after poaching the last one

Sam Jewell

Chelsea have made an offer to poach Brighton’s head of recruitment for the second time in 16 months – this time Sam Jewell who got the job at the Sussex club because his predecessor Paul Winstanley left for Stamford Bridge in 2022.

Chelsea have made their move now amid fears from the London club that former Brighton technical director Dan Ashworth will take Jewell with him to Manchester United. As yet, it is understood that no final decision has been made by Jewell and staying at Brighton is also an option. No official approach has been made by Chelsea to Brighton over Jewell.

Jewell, 34, was Brighton replacement for head of recruitment Winstanley who left to join Chelsea to become one of two sporting directors under the club’s new ownership in Nov 2022. Jewell took over Winstanley’s role at Brighton on an interim basis and was appointed permanently in February of last year. The same year the club had also lost sporting director Ashworth to Newcastle United.

Paul Winstanley
Paul Winstanley also came from Brighton - PA

The offer of the job at Chelsea is understood to be a global scouting role in charge of negotiations for both the London club and Strasbourg in Ligue 1, also owned by the Behdad Eghbali and Todd Boehly consortium. It is not clear yet whether Jewell has made a final decision.

Jewell, son of former manager Paul, has been a key part of Brighton’s recruitment, joining the club in May 2016 when he became the Under-21s recruitment head. He moved up to emerging talent scouting manager in 2018 and has been head of recruitment for 14 months.

Former Wigan manager Paul Jewell
Sam Jewell is the son of former Wigan manager Paul Jewell (pictured) - Getty Images/Laurence Griffiths

His association with Winstanley pre-dates their time together at Brighton. They also know one another through Paul Jewell’s time at Wigan, where Winstanley was performance manager.

His role at Brighton included a part in the signing of Alexis Mac Allister, Moises Caicedo, Facundo Buonanotte and Julio Enciso.

Speaking to Brighton’s club website last summer, Jewell said that succession planning at Brighton meant that “upheaval” was kept to a minimum. “Departures are part and parcel of football,” Jewell said in June last year, “and while it was sad to see two really good people leave us, it has opened doors to others, including me. Following Paul’s departure, I took on the head of recruitment role on an interim basis and it was very much business as usual.”

As well as Winstanley, Chelsea famously appointed in Sept 2022 the then Brighton manager Graham Potter, paying Brighton substantial compensation. Chelsea appointed four of Potter’s Brighton backroom staff and then sacked all but one when they dismissed Potter after less than seven months.

From that group of former Brighton backroom staff only goalkeeper coach Ben Roberts remains – working for Chelsea’s holding company BlueCo under which both clubs sit.

Chelsea also appointed data analyst Kyle Macauley from Brighton on the recruitment side and he remains at the club. On the playing side, Chelsea broke the British transfer record to sign Caicedo from Brighton for £115 million. They have also acquired Brighton goalkeeper Robert Sanchez and full-back Marc Cucurella for £52.5 million.

Before Brighton, Jewell worked at Newport County and then Swindon Town.

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