Meet Sam Jewell: Chelsea’s new Spanish-speaking transfer guru who uncovered £87m target | Football | Sport

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Brighton have announced that their head of recruitment Sam Jewell has accepted a new position with Chelsea. The 34-year-old has now been placed on gardening leave ahead of his move to Stamford Bridge, where he will take up a significant role in their recruitment over the coming campaigns.

So who is Jewell and why have Chelsea pounced to prise another member of staff away from Brighton? Well, numerous top clubs, including Manchester United, have had the transfer guru on their radar for the past 12 months after he seamlessly stepped into the role of head of recruitment last year after David Ashworth opted to join Newcastle.

Jewell was born into a footballing family, with his father Paul playing for Wigan and Bradford City before heading into the world of management. However, the ex-Derby County boss’ son did not enjoy a career as a player – opting to stop playing as a young teenager following several unsuccessful trials.

Jewell was handed a role in football in 2011 when he began working with the HN Sports agency, brokering deals and looking to identify young prospects that the company could represent. After just three successful years with the company, he felt he had plenty to offer for a football club and wanted to test his footballing eye.

He became an opposition scout for Newport County before enjoying a brief 10-month stint as chief scout for Swindon Town. Brighton quickly became aware of his progress and managed to lure Jewell to the Amex Stadium to become their Under-21 recruitment manager in 2016. The ever-enthusiastic transfer expert hit the ground running with the Seagulls and worked his way up the ranks, being named their emerging talent scout manager in 2018 before he became their head of recruitment last year.

Jewell played an integral role in Brighton’s recruitment process, with The Athletic reporting that he was initially tasked with dipping into the European market, which saw Sweden international Viktor Gyokeres join – who is now at Sporting and has been linked with an £87million move to Chelsea. Though Jewell’s true expertise came to light in 2018 when Brighton began their raid of South America, which was previously an untapped market.

Along with the rest of his recruitment team, Jewell, recently labelled a ‘big talent’ by Roberto De Zerbi, identified numerous prospects and he played a role in the acquisitions of Moises Caicedo, Alexis Mac Allister and Julio Enciso. He was also involved in the Seagull’s signing of Valentin Barco from Boca Juniors last month.

Jewell gained a reputation for going above and beyond in his roles throughout his career, as shown by his decision to learn Spanish during the COVID lockdown with the view of being able to communicate with South American targets. He told The Athletic: “I learnt Spanish during lockdown and it has helped me communicate with players when I’ve been out there and in selling the project to the players’ families. Remember, no English is spoken out there, so I’d like to think that speaking Spanish has played a small part in helping the guys join us.

“The only way you’re going to attract the top young talent is if they can see a route into the first team, given you’re competing against some of the biggest clubs in the world. That’s what happened with Alexis, Moises, Facundo and Julio — we could sell them a pathway to the first team relatively quickly.”

Chelsea’s multi-club model has seen them target the South American market since the arrival of Todd Boehly as well, with Ecuadorean star Kendry Paez being signed as a teenager with the view of making his mark in England when he turns 18. Jewell’s expert eye on recruitment in the region therefore makes him a smart acquisition by the Blues, with his countless connections in the area likely to uncover different deals with looser financial restraints.

Although Chelsea have done plenty wrong over the past few seasons, opting to tighten up their recruitment strategy could be a masterstroke by Boehly to ensure that top players are able to be integrated into Mauricio Pochettino’s first team without stretching the limits of Financial Fair Play.


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