Chelsea and their new boss Graham Potter have poached another key member of Brighton and Hove Albion’s backroom team, luring head of recruitment Paul Winstanley to Stamford Bridge.
Winstanley, who has been on gardening leave while talks were under way, becomes director of global talent and transfers for the west Londoners after the two clubs agreed a compensation package.
Albion said today: “Paul Winstanley has left the club to take up a new role at Chelsea after the two clubs agreed a compensation package.”
Technical director David Weir said: “Paul has been an important part of our recruitment and overall progress in his time at the club and naturally we did not want to see him leave.
“However, we understand that he sees this as an exciting opportunity to move into a more senior position and a different challenge at a new club.”
Deputy chairman and chief executive Paul Barber said: “We wish Paul well and thank him for all he has done during his time at the club.
“In line with our club’s policy of being prepared with immediate high-quality cover in the event we lose key staff, Sam Jewell will step up as acting head of recruitment, supported by our technical director David Weir.
“We have an excellent recruitment team and infrastructure in place, who will also give Sam all the support and expertise he needs.
“So, while we are disappointed to lose Paul, we know we can absorb this change as we move forward into the January transfer window.”
Albion added: “Paul joined Albion in 2014 from Derby County and played a key role in the club’s on-pitch successes of the past eight years as he oversaw all elements of recruitment, initially under David Burke, before working closely with Dan Ashworth and David Weir more recently.”
Winstanley said: “It has been the most memorable, successful and enjoyable period of my career.
“I would like to thank everyone at Brighton but most importantly Tony Bloom and Paul Barber for the opportunity they gave me along with their unbelievable support.
“I’ve also worked with some amazing people. I want to thank everyone at the club and not least the managers from Sami (Hyypia), Chris (Hughton), Graham (Potter) and Roberto (De Zerbi).
“I’ve also been proud to lead our recuitment team and work with two first-class technical directors in Dan and David.
“It’s not been an easy decision and it has taken me some time but the opportunity was too great to turn down and is a personal challenge I want to take up.
“While I had no desire to leave Brighton, as the club has been amazing to me, this was something I had to pursue.
“I’m incredibly proud to have played my part at Brighton and Hove Albion over the past eight years. I wish everyone connected to the club well for the future.
“The club is incredibly well run, with brilliant people everywhere, and is something quite special – and I have no doubt it has a great future ahead with Roberto at the helm.”
When Potter joined Chelsea in September, he took his long-serving assistants Billy Reid and Bjorn Hamberg with him along with another member of his inner circle, recruitment analyst Kyle Macaulay.
But he also took Brighton goalkeeping coach Ben Roberts and – most painfully for Albion fans – former skipper Bruno Saltor.
With the World Cup due to start on Sunday (20 November), the Seagulls are perched in seventh place in the Premier League, just above Chelsea in eighth.
Both sides have 21 points from 14 games but Albion have the better goal difference, thanks in part to the 4-1 win over the Blues at the Amex just over two weeks ago.