Joe Shields, the current head of senior recruitment at Southampton is close to joining Chelsea after it was reported that the west London club is close to reaching an agreement with The Saints.
But, Who is Joe Shields and why is he wanted by Chelsea and Todd Boehly?
Shields is a Thornton-Heath-raised transfer specialist who worked his way to the top, discovering many talents of the game.
At a young age, Shields was already a coach at Croydon-based Melwood FC and later at Crystal Palace as a part-time scout, working from 2008 to 2010.
In 2010, Fulham’s academy coach Colin Omogbehin snapped up Shields from Palace and he worked as their full-time scout before returning to Palace a year later as assistant head of youth recruitment with Gary Issott as the academy coach.
Shields was assisting Bernie Dillon at Selhurst Park and tasked with ensuring scouting and further development of the best young players in London.
Due to the varying degrees of success he had at Palace, he was noticed by Manchester City in 2013 and was subsequently appointed as their chief scout in the south of England.
In 2014, Shields discovered 14-year-old Jadon Sancho plying his trade at Watford and City signed him for around £500,000.
Sancho was later sold to Borussia Dortmund in 2017 for huge profit in an £8m deal. Manchester United later signed him in 2021 from Dortmund for £73m.
Shields also discovered players such as Yeboah Amankwah from Croydon-based Kinetic Foundation, Michael Olise from Chelsea, Taylor Richards from Fulham, Ian Carlo Poveda from Brentford and Rabbi Matondo from Cardiff City.
Shields was promoted to City’s UK academy scouting manager in 2016 and left the role in 2018 to become their head of academy recruitment and talent manager.
He was the one that also discovered players such as Jamie Bynoe-Gittens, Liam Delap, Juan Larios, Romeo Lavia, Gavin Bazunu and Sam Edozie for Manchester City.
The transfer guru left City in July of this year and joined Southampton as their head of senior recruitment, replacing Martyn Glover who joined Leicester City.
While at Southampton, he brought with him Juan Larios, Romeo Lavia, Gavin Bazunu and Sam Edozie, while also adding Armel Bella-Kotchap from Bochum.