Standard picks new sporting director from Manchester City

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Standard has almost got hold of its new sporting director. The 45-year-old Irishman Fergal Harkin will soon be announced as the first official appointment of the new American owners (777 Partners) of the Liège football club.

Thomas Standaert

Harkin is snatched from Manchester City by 777 Partners, where he had been active since 2015 as ‘Football Partnerships and Pathways Manager’† In that position, he headed City’s collaboration with other clubs (including Lommel) and maintained an overview of the small army of rental players sent out by the City Football Group around the world.

Although relatively unknown in Belgium, Harkin is highly regarded within the City Group and by extension the entire English football world because of his eye for talent and good business sense. The former Leicester City youth player and Bohemians Dublin FC midfielder had been given the opportunity to join a club as sporting director at least twice before. Last year he rejected an offer from Lommel. During the same period, he was explicitly linked to Scottish Celtic as new ‘Director of Football† A flirtation that ultimately came to nothing.

For Standard, Harkin now seems to want to take the plunge. The Irishman already reached an agreement with the new owners of Standard at the end of last week, but has yet to sign. He is expected in Liège early this week. There is therefore a lot of work ahead for the new TD of the Rouches. His first important task will be the appointment of a new head coach. At the moment there are still four remaining foreign candidates from which Harkin will eventually have to make his choice.

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