Chelsea have held a fresh round of talks with Michael Edwards over their vacant sporting director role, 90min understands, but the former Liverpool chief remains adamant he will not return to work this season.
Edwards, who left Anfield this summer after 11 years at the club, was among the primary targets of new Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly, who was thoroughly impressed with Edwards' outstanding transfer record during his time at Liverpool.
The Blues made an approach this summer but Edwards had already made it clear that he did not want to return to work this year, and sources have confirmed to 90min that another approach to the 43-year-old has met the same fate.
With a deal for a technical director almost wrapped up - Christopher Vivell has agreed to join after his abrupt departure from RB Leipzig - Chelsea are now reigniting their search for a sporting director and chose to reach out to Edwards once again to clarify whether he could be tempted to return to work or not.
Edwards stressed that his plan remains to delay his return until 2023, and 90min understands that Boehly is exploring a deal which would see the former Liverpool chief take charge of Chelsea's recruitment from July 1.
It is not yet clear whether Edwards would be interested in such an agreement and Chelsea are continuing to explore all their options ahead of an appointment which sources do not believe is imminent.
Scott Saunders, Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth bring you a brand new episode of Talking Transfers. The team discuss Chelsea's interest in Declan Rice, Christopher Nkunku and Josko Gvardiol, while there are also updates on Cristiano Ronaldo, Donny van de Beek and more. Available on all audio platforms.
If you can't see the podcast embed, click here to download the episode in full!
Among those to have been spoken to over the sporting director role are Paul Mitchell, Monchi, Tim Steidten, Victor Orta, Lee Congerton and Luis Campos.
Chelsea also thought they had a deal struck with Salzburg's Christoph Freund but were met with a public rejection of their advances, after which Boehly has redirected his attention back to Edwards.
Edwards earned plenty of plaudits during his time in Liverpool, where he was responsible for the signings of players like Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk, Alisson and Fabinho - all of whom helped transform Jurgen Klopp's side into a genuine European powerhouse.
As well as signings, Edwards also received praise for his ability to sell players for sizeable fees. The £142m departure of Philippe Coutinho stands out, as do the exits of Dominic Solanke and Rhian Brewster, who brought in a combined £40m despite their limited involvement with the first team.