Home News Who is Richard Hughes? The ex-player set for Liverpool sporting director job

Who is Richard Hughes? The ex-player set for Liverpool sporting director job

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With Michael Edwards set to return with a new role at Liverpool, his first appointment will be the club’s new sporting director, 44-year-old Richard Hughes.

After face-to-face talks with Fenway Sports Group in Boston last week, Edwards is now expected to take up a new position within the ownership group.

Per The Athletic‘s David Ornstein, that would include overseeing football operations at Liverpool, having already turned down the opportunity to take up his old job of sporting director.

READ: Michael Edwards CLOSE to Liverpool return – along with new sporting director

Edwards will assume a wider, more senior position, with Hughes the man lined up to join him as sporting director, in what will be his first of a number of key appointments.

But who is Richard Hughes and what will he bring to Liverpool?

 

Who is Richard Hughes?

Hughes will join Liverpool after 10 years at Bournemouth, departing the club at the end of the season having served as their technical director for the majority of that time.

It is set to bring a change of job title, with the Scot instead following Edwards, Julian Ward and most recently Jorg Schmadtke in serving as sporting director.

He will be in charge of negotiating transfers and contracts, while liaising closely with the club’s recruitment staff.

Though he was born in Glasgow, Hughes grew up in Milan, Italy, due to his father’s job in the city with Penguin Books – meaning he is fluent in both English and Italian.

 

Why might we recognise him?

Portsmouth, England: Saturday, April 28, 2007: Liverpool's Robbie Fowler in action against Portsmouth's Richard Hughes during the Premiership match at Fratton Park (Pic by Chris Ratcliffe/Propaganda)

Though he may not be a household name, Hughes will be familiar to fans of a certain vintage having played for both Portsmouth and Bournemouth during a long playing career.

He was first signed to the Atalanta academy in Italy, before returning to England with a move to Arsenal and then signing a professional deal with Bournemouth.

Hughes played 169 times over two spells with the Cherries, while 114 of his 165 appearances for Portsmouth came in the Premier League.

It was at Portsmouth that Hughes became close with Edwards, who was working as a performance analyst.

A five-cap Scotland international, Hughes faced Liverpool nine times as a player, scoring the only goal as Portsmouth knocked the Reds out of the FA Cup fifth round in 2003/04.

 

Who did he sign at Bournemouth?

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 7, 2019: AFC Bournemouth's Dominic Solanke during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at the Vitality Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Hughes’ first transfer window as technical director saw him sign both Jordon Ibe and Brad Smith from Liverpool for a combined £21 million.

Those transfers inadvertently boosted Edwards’ reputation, as they were widely considered excellent business for the Reds, but many of Hughes’ other signings proved more successful.

During his time at Dean Court, he helped bring in the likes of Aaron Ramsdale (£800k), Nathan Ake (£20m), Dominic Solanke (£19m), David Brooks (£11.5m), Philip Billing (£15m), Lloyd Kelly (£13m), Neto (free), Marcos Senesi (£12m) and Milos Kerkez (£15.5m).

His connections at Liverpool also saw him secure loan deals for Harry Wilson and Nat Phillips, while he made major profits with sales of Ake, Ramsdale, Callum Wilson and Tyrone Mings.

Off the pitch, it was Hughes who played a central role in the appointment of Andoni Iraola.

 

What has he said?

Speaking to Bournemouth‘s official website in 2019 – when Eddie Howe was still manager – Hughes explained the due diligence he puts into signing new players:

“Character and attitude is such a huge aspect of the players we have and the culture that Eddie’s instilled at the club. That means that finding information out about a player beyond what you can see in the 90 minutes is more important.

“That’s something which we’ve always been big on but we’ve increased our efforts in finding out as much as we can about the individuals that we’re bringing into the building.

[…]

“You have to have as much information as possible when you make that signing – and hopefully as we’ve gone on and got more experienced in this side of things we’ve been able to do that better than when we started.”

It sounds like he will fit in perfectly at Liverpool.